New Delhi [India]: Serum Institute of India's chairman and managing director Cyrus Poonawalla on Friday praised the Narendra Modi government for bringing reforms in the vaccine industry for getting permissions and licences on priority and said difficulties to get licenses and permissions for vaccines were reduced during the Modi government.
He compared the present era with the previous governments saying that he and his company had to go through so many difficulties in the past to get approval. Giving an example, he said it took him two years to get the required approval to start manufacturing the Pneumonia vaccine.
"50 years ago the industry had to face hardships in availability of power, water and harassment from bureaucrats which I was told not to say. Transport and communication were also a great problem and challenges were faced by my staff, directors, and my fellows," he said "It's a long journey and very painful one I must say which has now become rewarding and Mundra who is sitting in the audience had to go and fall at the feet of bureaucrats and drug controllers etc to get permissions," he added.
Poonawalla said that these difficulties have now eased and the process of getting approval has been now made easier during the Narendra Modi government.
"I must stress that my difficulties are much reduced under the Modi government. Definitely, I am not the one to give lip sympathy to government ministers but certainly, one of the major reasons why we could launch our COVID vaccine so quickly was because of the forthcoming grant of permissions, encouragement to industries and reduction of 'Licencing Raaj'. We have now got a drug controller who responds in the evening hours," Poonawalla said.
Talking about the restrictions on the export of the vaccine, Poonawalla said that the central government must allow them to export the vaccine as many of the countries are completely dependent on the Serum Institute of India for the vaccine.
When asked about his opinion of restrictions on vaccine export he said, "That is the worst things the Modi government has done. My son had asked me to not speak on it but my view is that the export must be allowed because around 150 to 170 countries of the world have been taking vaccines from us for years. Now they say when they are in extreme need we have stopped giving them vaccines. Those countries have given us crores of rupees in advance. We have even offered them to return their money but they have said they will take vaccines from us once the government of India allows us to export it to them." Poonawalla said he and his family have made a huge sacrifice by providing the vaccines at a lower cost to save humanity.
"Even though I am a billionaire now, the wealth could have been at least 10 to 15 billion dollars more had I not got tempted to lower the whole priceline because all other vaccines sold by us in all different countries are twice or thrice the price of what we are giving to world so this is a major sacrifice that my family and in a way Serum Institute is making to saving the human lives," he said.
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