April 29, 2020 Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE: A “Not-For-Profit” Vaccine From Johnson & Johnson?

Washington, D.C. — Johnson & Johnson is facing new questions from Patients For Affordable Drugs after our analysis found the drug company’s promise to offer a not-for-profit COVID-19 vaccine is more than a little misleading. As Johnson & Johnson (J&J) garnered positive press for its announcement, a closer look found that based on the company’s own statements, it stands to realize at least $10 billion in revenue from the COVID-19 vaccine at the outset and turn a huge profit on total sales.

“We can’t let drug corporations profiteer off a pandemic, especially when claiming that the vaccine will be not-for-profit,” David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs, and Ben Wakana, the group’s executive director, said. “We need transparency from J&J with regard to costs and revenue and a commitment to sell the COVID-19 vaccine developed with taxpayer support on a not-for-profit basis permanently — not only for emergency pandemic use.”

P4AD’s review of academic literature and expert interviews found the development cost for a vaccine to be between $135 million and $1 billion. Assuming the high end of the range, J&J is on the hook for only half of that amount thanks to taxpayer investment.

J&J announced that the vaccine will be sold on a “not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.” Then, J&J’s Chief Scientific Officer, Paul Stoffels, declared the company plans to sell the vaccine for $10 and said the company would produce at least one billion doses. By his account, J&J would realize a minimum $10 billion in revenue.

Before Johnson & Johnson receives accolades for selling the COVID-19 vaccine on a not-for-profit basis, it must take two steps:

  1. Publicly account for the $10 billion in revenue the company plans to realize from its COVID-19 vaccine. J&J must disclose its research and development costs, production, packaging, shipping, facilities, and other associated costs to justify its claim that $10 is a not-for-profit price.
  2. Publicly commit to selling the drug on a not-for-profit basis permanently, not only for emergency pandemic use. Without this commitment, J&J can get away with a global bait-and-switch. It will enjoy accolades now and then stand to reap huge profits on total product sales for years to come.

Today’s piece is the third in a series that outlines the investment U.S. taxpayers have made into COVID-19 treatments. In our previous blogs, we outlined the key role that taxpayer funding plays in ensuring effective drugs for COVID-19 and demonstrated that Big Pharma only became interested in investing in vaccine development after it realized it could reap large profits. Patients For Affordable Drugs does not accept contributions from any organizations that profit from the development or distribution of prescription drugs.

Read the full post here.



Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.