Pharmaceutical companies say they would sell coronavirus vaccine at a profit
Wednesday, 22 July 2020
Several major pharmaceutical companies on Tuesday said they would sell a potential coronavirus vaccine at a profit.
Various companies have received subsidies of hundreds of millions of dollars from the US government or other states, but these agreements are not always accompanied by clauses capping the final price of the doses.
US companies Pfizer, Merck and Moderna all told US Congress that they would not sell their potential coronavirus vaccines at cost price. Conversely, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca have committed to initially sell their vaccines at no profit.
“We will not sell at cost,” said Moderna President Stephen Hoge. The biotech company has developed one of the most advanced experimental vaccines, with large-scale Phase 3 trials scheduled to begin next week on 30,000 volunteers. It has received $483 million in U.S. public money to fund research and development, but does not have a supply contract, Hoge said.
Merck will not have any vaccine ready until 2021 at the earliest, and has not signed a supply contract with Washington.
“These are extraordinary times and our pricing will reflect that,” said John Young of Pfizer. Young did not specify how, but said that the price would take into account “the current global health emergency.”
AstraZeneca, already in Phase 3 trials, has signed a $1.2 billion contract with the U.S. government, which includes the delivery of 300 million doses at cost. The European Union signed a similar contract in June.
Johnson & Johnson, also funded by the White House’s $456 million Operation Warp Speed, separately stated that the price of more than a billion doses would be without profit during the emergency phase of the pandemic.