Pfizer condemned for raising price of US Covid vaccine 10,000% above cost

The profit from the pandemic is endless.

[Felton Davis / CC BY 2.0]

By Jacques Johnson | Common dreams

On Friday, vaccine equity campaigners condemned Pfizer for announcing it would soon raise the price of its publicly funded Covid-19 has reached between $110 and $130 per dose in the United States, a move that comes as the Biden administration is getting ready to finish the national free coronavirus vaccination program as funding for the pandemic response dries up.

Reuters reported late Thursday that Angela Lukin, an executive at Pfizer, said the New York-based pharmaceutical giant “expects” the vaccine “to be made available free of charge to people who have private insurance or insurance paid for by the government “.

The outlet noted that Lukin did not say whether the company would make accommodations for the tens of millions of people in the United States without any health insurance.

The People’s Vaccine Alliance said in a statement Friday that Pfizer’s planned price hike would represent a 10,000% markup above the cost of producing the vaccine, which is valued be as low as $1.18 per dose.

The United States currently pays around $30 per dose for Pfizer’s vaccine.

“As health workers and vulnerable people continue to go unvaccinated in developing countries, Pfizer is shamelessly defrauding the public of ever-increasing sums of money,” said People’s Policy Advisor Julia Kosgei. Vaccine Alliance. “This latest obscene price hike is truly a hidden moment for one of the big profiteers of this pandemic.”

In the second quarter of this year, Pfizer reported a 78% increase in overall profit over the same period in 2021 and said its coronavirus vaccine revenue was $32 billion. The company is expected to release its third quarter results early next month.

“It’s daylight theft,” Kosgei said of the upcoming price hike. “Governments must not sit idly by while companies like Pfizer hold the world to ransom in a global pandemic.”

“It’s not just about vaccines,” Kosgei added. “Right now, people in developing countries are dying without access to Paxlovid, a Covid-19 antiviral treatment for which Pfizer charges hundreds of dollars per course. But there is a proposal at the World Trade Organization that would make it easier for poorer countries to produce generic doses. It is time for governments to stand up to the profiteers of the pandemic and support it. »

Earlier this year, rich countries at the World Trade Organization tanked a popular proposal to temporarily waive patents on coronavirus vaccines, a step that would help facilitate the production of generic doses for developing countries. Currently, just 23.3% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine.

Pfizer, along with other pharmaceutical giants, is keen opposite the waiver of the patent as he sought to retain his control over the production and distribution of the plans, which were developed using government funded technology.

During recent round tableWorld Health Organization health emergencies director Mike Ryan says failure to ensure global vaccine equity and prevent millions of deaths is ‘due to northern greed’ and “from the greed of the pharmaceutical industry”.

“We failed because of the self-interest of some member states who weren’t ready to share,” Ryan added.

The Biden administration, which has faces criticism for failing to deliver on pledges of vaccine donations, is taking steps to stop providing free vaccines to the American public.

As the the wall street journal reported in August, the change will give “more control over pricing and coverage to the healthcare industry in a way that could drive sales for businesses – and costs for consumers – for years to come.”

The first stages of the transition began in the middle growing fears of a winter peak in coronavirus infections and deaths. Only 4% of eligible people received the latest Covid-19 reminder, according government data.

As the Biden administration has called for additional pandemic response funding to buy more next-generation tests, treatments and vaccines, the effort is facing opposition from Republicans who have seized on President Joe Biden’s recent assertion that the “pandemic is over” to justify blocking the White House request.

“We know from our clinical and research experience that the pandemic is far from over and that national efforts to ensure the health and well-being of the American public are far from over,” wrote a group. of health experts in a open letter earlier this month. “We are deeply concerned that the Biden administration is downplaying Covid at a time when it needs to redouble its efforts to secure funding and resources to prevent another surge.”