‘This is supposed to be the people’s vaccine’: Moderna’s plan to jack up price of its Covid shot to $130 is slammed as ‘obscene greed’ – after firm enjoyed $2bn in taxpayer funds to develop vaccine
- The People’s Vaccine Alliance slammed Moderna leadership for ‘obscene’ greed
- Covid-19 vaccines have been free thanks to government purchasing contracts
- Vaccine makers have to shift to the commercial market, resulting in higher costs
Moderna has come under fire after DailyMail.com revealed the firm plans to hike the price of its taxpayer-funded Covid shot.
The company’s CEO told this website it would charge up to $130 for the shot – which costs just $2 to make – when its Government contract runs out later this year.
Moderna said it was a direct response to rival Pfizer’s similarly high price spike announced late last year. But the move will be seen as a double blow to Americans given that, unlike Pfizer, Moderna benefitted from more than $2billion in taxpayer-funded support to develop its shot.
Julia Kosgei, Policy Co-Lead for the People’s Vaccine Alliance said: ‘The sheer greed is obscene. Billions of taxpayer dollars went into the development of mRNA vaccines. This vaccine isn’t just Moderna’s.’
Moderna has come under fire after DailyMail.com revealed the firm plans to hike the price of its taxpayer-funded Covid shot
She added: ‘It was developed in collaboration with a government agency based on decades of publicly-funded research.
‘It is the people’s vaccine – and it should be available and affordable for everyone, everywhere.’
Americans have been able to get a Covid-19 shot free of charge when they become eligible thanks to purchasing agreements between the federal government and vaccine manufacturers, including Moderna and Pfizer.
Since both companies debuted their vaccines in late 2020, the US government has procured more than one billion doses.
But the federal stores and money to buy more are drying up and a gridlocked Congress has shown little interest in repleninishing dwindling funds.
It means uninsured Americans in need of a Covid shot will soon be forced to pay the commercial price.
Mr Bancel did not disclose the final per-dose price but told DailyMail.com that the company would mirror the prices set by competitor Pfizer, whose vaccine with partner BioNTech was the first to hit the US market.
Mr Bancel told DailyMail.com: ‘When we did the first contract with the US, we proposed an offer to them [with] a big discount… ‘In the US it’s $26 now. That was the discounted price, it’s going to go up. Pfizer said they’re going to price it between $110 and $130.
‘We’d want to be the same ballpark as that.’
Pfizer was sharply criticized last fall when it announced plans to increase the commercial price of its mRNA vaccine. The company sparked ire in Washington among progressive lawmakers such as Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Moderna’s mRNA vaccine was one of the first to hit the US market in late 2020 and was developed using federal resources
Sen Sanders, for instance, said: ‘Enough is enough. The COVID vaccine should cost $0. Pfizer’s greed is killing people throughout the world.’
Sen Warren, meanwhile, said it ‘smacks of corruption’ and was a signal that ‘Big Pharma’ and leading federal regulators were in too-close contact.
The Covid shots have been free thanks to the multi-billion dollar vaccine and treatment research initiative Operation Warp Speed spearheaded by the former Trump administration in April 2020. OWS helped shepherd Moderna’s vaccine across the regulatory finish line.
Moderna, a Massachusetts-based biotech startup, inked several contracts with the federal government totaling more than $2.4 billion in the first year of the pandemic to provide the government with hundreds of millions of doses.
As that supply wanes, Moderna will be forced to work directly with insurance companies to nail down a new pricing model, which will ensure that people with health insurance do not have to pay anything out of pocket. But people without coverage won’t be so lucky.
Despite the high list price, dwindling demand means Moderna likely will not make the same financial gains as it did in the first two years of the pandemic when the need for vaccines was most acute.
The mRNA vaccine juggernaut reported approximately $18.4 billion in revenue last year, exceeding 2021’s total of $17.7 billion. But 2023 sales are expected to be far more modest. On Monday, Moderna projected 2023 sales of the vaccine to reach about $5 billion.