Pfizer is raising the price of its covid-19 vaccine in Europe by over 25% under a newly negotiated contract with the European Union, according to a report from the Financial Times. Competitor Moderna is also hiking the price of its vaccine in Europe by roughly 10%.
Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine is already expected to generate the most revenue of any drug in a single year—about $33.5 billion for 2021 alone, according to the pharmaceutical company’s own estimates. But the company says it’s providing poorer countries the vaccine at a highly discounted price.
Pfizer previously charged the European Union €15.50 per dose for its vaccine ($18.40), which is based on new mRNA technology. The company will now charge €19.50 ($23.15) for 2.1 billion doses that will be delivered through the year 2023, according to the Financial Times.
Moderna previously charged the EU $22.60 per dose but will now get $25.50 per dose. That new price is actually lower than first anticipated, according to the Financial Times, because the EU adjusted its initial order to get more doses.
There’s no word yet on whether the next potential round of negotiations between the U.S. and Pfizer will see the company raise prices. Both Pfizer and Moderna did not respond to requests for comment early Monday morning.
While most drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna are selling their covid-19 vaccines at a profit—even China’s Sinovac vaccine is being sold to make money— the UK’s AstraZeneca vaccine is being sold at cost. But AstraZeneca has suffered from poor press after a few dozen people around the world died from blood clots believed to be related to the British vaccine. As it turns out, Pfizer’s blood clot risk is “similar” to AstraZeneca according to a new study and your risk from dying of covid-19 is much higher than dying from any vaccine.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being provided free-of-charge to residents of the EU by the government, just as vaccines are free to everyone in the U.S., but governments around the world are still handing over a lot of cash for the privilege of getting the pandemic under control.
Curiously, it seems like the folks at Moderna are getting a reputation for being assholes, perhaps due to inexperience. The company was founded in 2010 and its covid-19 vaccine is its first commercial product.
From the Financial Times:
One official said staff working for Moderna were especially “preposterous and arrogant” in their dealings with the commission, highlighting a lack of previous experience in government affairs.
Pfizer, on the other hand, has been around the block a few times and told investors that things are going exceedingly well for the company on an earnings call last week. And the covid-19 vaccine is a big part of that financial success.
“The Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine contributed $7.8 billion in global revenues during the second quarter, and we continue to sign agreements with governments around the world,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said last week.
But Bourla was careful to note that Pfizer is providing the vaccine at discounted rates for poorer countries.
“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 one billion doses, or approximately 40% of our total production, to middle- and low-income countries, and another one billion in 2022,” Boula continued.
Only wealthy countries will have to pay through the nose.