Better Than Dying

Pfizer and Moderna Hike the Price of COVID Vaccines

Vaccines are about to get a whole lot more expensive for European governments.

Aug 2 / Dan Robitzski
Pxfuel/Victor Tangermann
Image by Pxfuel/Victor Tangermann

Thanks to newly renegotiated contracts between the European Union and pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna, vaccines are about to become a lot more expensive for some countries.

European nations will now pay 25 percent more for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines and 10 percent more for Moderna’s, the Financial Times reports, bringing a Pfizer dose from $18.40 to $23.15 and a Moderna dose $22.60 to $25.50. As Gizmodo notes, European governments will still distribute the shots to citizens for free, but the new price hikes illustrate just how lucrative the pandemic is becoming for the two pharma companies.

It shouldn’t necessarily come as a shock that the companies are seeking a higher profit from the vaccine. Even though Moderna took $483 million in grant funding from the US government and Pfizer’s partner firm BioNTech collected $445 million from Germany, both companies were upfront about their plan to make money off the vaccine rather than selling it at cost like AstraZeneca.

Though Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla didn’t directly connect the higher costs in Europe to lower costs elsewhere in his second-quarter earnings call statement last week, he did point out that the company will sell discounted vaccines to poorer nations around the world.

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“We anticipate that a significant amount of our remaining 2021 vaccine manufacturing capacity will be delivered to middle- and low-income countries where we price in line with income levels or at a not-for-profit price,” Bourla said. “In fact, we are on track to deliver on our commitment to provide this year more than 1 billion doses, or approximately 40 percent of our total production, to middle- and low-income countries, and another 1 billion in 2022.”


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