|WASHINGTON, DC — This week, Moderna became the latest drug company to announce plans to increase the price of its COVID-19 vaccine once public attention on the novel coronavirus subsides. This would normally be considered business as usual, but it’s especially appalling because these developing COVID-19 vaccines have been financed by taxpayers. Experts anticipate a vaccine will be needed for years to come, and drug companies raising prices in order to profiteer on vaccines funded by U.S. taxpayers cannot be tolerated.
“Drug corporations’ intentions are clear: they’re putting on a show during the pandemic, but they plan to raise prices once attention has waned,” said Ben Wakana, the executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs. “Taxpayers are funding the development of COVID-19 vaccines, Americans are making sacrifices during this pandemic, and drug corporations must not be allowed to profiteer off taxpayer-funded vaccines — now or when life returns to normal.”
Moderna: “During the pandemic period…agreements have been executed between $32 and $37 per dose. In [the] endemic period…we will look to price in line with other innovative commercial vaccines. We expect traditional approaches to vaccine purchases and distribution in the endemic phase.” (Moderna Earnings Call Transcript, 8/5/20)
Johnson & Johnson: “The not-for-profit price will be for the emergency pandemic period.” (Johnson & Johnson Congressional Testimony, 7/21/20)
AstraZeneca: “On today’s call Astra’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, repeated the group’s pledge to supply ADZ1222 at cost as long as the pandemic persisted.” (Evaluate Vantage, July 30, 2020)
This news is especially disturbing considering that Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca’s vaccines are all at least in part financed with taxpayer dollars.
On Wednesday of this week, the U.S. government announced it would pay Johnson & Johnson $1 billion for 100 million doses of its vaccine — in addition to $456 million already provided to J&J by BARDA. The deal includes development and manufacturing of the vaccine.
Moderna admitted that its vaccine was 100 percent funded by U.S. taxpayers, who committed nearly $1 billion dollars to speed the vaccine’s development.
Earlier today, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Vaccine and Coverage Certainty Act aimed at penalizing drug companies that increase prices on taxpayer-funded COVID-19 vaccines.