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Moderna’s Announcement to Hike Cost of COVID-19 Vaccines Underscores Big Pharma’s Relentless Greed

By January 13, 2023No Comments

Washington DC — This week, Moderna’s CEO announced that the company was considering quadrupling the cost of its COVID-19 vaccine, from $26 per dose to as much as $130 per dose. This egregious price increase will dramatically reduce the number of Americans getting vaccinated, increase hospitalizations and deaths, and raise the cost of health care for millions.

The news comes as Moderna and Pfizer have seen some of their most profitable years ever. Research shows these billions in profits were diverted into executive salaries, legal funds to protect their patents, and stock buybacks — despite the role taxpayer dollars played in the development and roll out of the vaccines. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“Quadrupling the cost of COVID-19 vaccines is the epitome of corporate greed. Higher costs means fewer people will be vaccinated, which will worsen the spread of the virus and increase deaths and hospitalizations. American taxpayers paid for the development of COVID-19 vaccines and now Big Pharma wants hard-working Americans to pay for their profits and executive bonuses. This type of price hike is exactly why legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act is so important, and why we need to build on these policies to rein in Big Pharma’s greed and deliver savings to patients.” 

Billions in Taxpayer Dollars Was Spent on Research and Development

  • In all, over $2.5 billion was given to Moderna to research and develop the mRNA vaccine.
  • During Operation Warp Speed, the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca-Oxford received nearly $1.2 billion in development funding.
  • Although Pfizer claims their vaccine research was all privately funded, around 25 percent of its R&D for their vaccine came from the German government.
  • Pfizer as well received $5.7 billion in advanced purchase contracts from the U.S. government that paid for the R&D nearly threefold before the vaccine had even finished development.

The U.S. Government Bought Vaccines at Full Price

  • The United States is paying 25 percent more than European countries for Pfizer vaccines and 45 percent more for AstraZeneca.
  • Studies suggest that the per-dose cost of COVID-19 vaccines are between two and three dollars, but the U.S. government has had to buy them for $39 per dose from Pfizer and $30 per dose from Moderna.
  • In just the first order from the U.S. government, Moderna made over $1.5 billion on vaccine sales.

Profits and Stock Prices Have Increased by Billions

  • In 2022 alone, Moderna made nearly $20 billion and Pfizer over $54 billion on vaccine sales alone, with no kind of reinvestment into communities most affected by the virus in the company’s financial plans.
  • As vaccines plan to be moved to the private market both Moderna and Pfizer have announced plans to increase prices of the vaccine to over $110 per dose.
  • On March 6, 2020 Moderna stocks were priced at $22.61 but as of January 12, 2023 they are priced at over $188, a 732 percent increase.
  • Although not as dramatic, the 110 year-old company of Pfizer also saw record breaking stock prices throughout waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive Salaries Increased to Their Highest Levels

  • The CEO of Pfizer has seen a dramatic increase in his own compensation, making nearly $25 million in 2022, over 16 percent more than his compensation at the beginning of the pandemic.
  • In 2022, Moderna’s CEO saw a pay jump of over 41 percent from just his compensation the year before with board members citing “unprecedented growth.”
  • Both Pfizer and Moderna’s CEOs have made it onto the list tracking the 15 most paid executives in biopharma