Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla has fled to London after he reported to have received threats from some “powerful men” ranging from Chief Ministers of states to CEOs of business conglomerates.
In his interview with The Times, UK, Adar Poonawalla revealed that there has been an increasing pressure on him for the manufacture of the Covishield vaccines. In this interview, he has also spoken of the aggressive calls he had been receiving from the “most powerful” people of the nation which included chief ministers, business tycoons and other influential people, who demanded for instant manufacture and supplies of the Covishield vaccines.
He has also said that the phone calls were not only menacing but the aggression was also unprecedented. Due to this increasing pressure, Adar Poonawalla had taken the decision to leave India and go to London along with his wife, Natasha Poonawalla and his children.
Earlier this week, Adar Poonawalla was given Y level security by the Government of India.
However, he has also revealed that he will be staying in London for an extended period of time and is not willing to get back to India because of the aggressive situation.
He is very clear about his decision as he does not want to fall under pressure by getting back to India and also does not want to be threatened by influential people if he is unable to meet the demand of vaccine.
However, his shift to London is also connected with his business plans as he is currently planning to expand his business ventures and manufacture vaccines in other countries as well, which may also include the UK.
As per the newspaper, an increment in their annual production capacity from 1.5 billion doses to 2.5 billion doses was already done by the Serum Institute of India by January, this year. It had also kept 50 million doses of Covishield in stock.
When Adar Poonawalla was charged for making profit out of the vaccines as there was an increase in the price of Covishield, he denied agreeing with the same. He also specified that Covishield will remain as the most affordable vaccine on earth even if the price had gone high and had called the charge to be totally incorrect.
For the uninitiated, The Serum Institute of India, which was founded by Adar’s father, Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla, is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer based on the number of doses manufactured.
Earlier last month, Serum Institute on 21 April 2021 announced the price of vaccines will be 600 rupees per dose if taken from private hospitals and 400 rupees for state governments and those who would newly make a contract from the Central Government with the Institute. Prior to that, it had given vaccines to the Central Government at 150 rupees and hence, was criticized for the hike in price of the vaccines. Later, the price of vaccines for state governments was reduced to 300 rupees.