Moderna CEO: 400% price hike on COVID vaccine “consistent with the value”
Zoom / Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel during an interview on Bloomberg Television on the closing day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on May 26, 2022.
Moderna is considering raising the price of its COVID-19 vaccine by more than 400 percent — from $26 per dose to between $110 and $130 per dose — according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Ars has reached out to Moderna for comment, but has not yet received a response. The plan, if implemented, would match the previously announced price increase for rival Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The paper spoke with Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on Monday, who said of the 400 percent price increase: “I would think that kind of price is consistent with the value.”
So far, mRNA-based vaccines for COVID-19 from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have been purchased by the government and offered to Americans for free. In the latest federal contract from July, Moderna’s updated booster injection cost the government $26 per dose, down from $15–16 per dose in previous supply contracts, the Journal notes. Similarly, the government paid just over $30 per dose for Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine last summer, up from $19.50 per dose in contracts from 2020.
But now that the federal government is pulling back from distributing the vaccines, their manufacturers are moving to the commercial market — with price adjustments. Financial analysts had previously predicted that Pfizer would set the commercial price for its vaccine at just $50 per dose, but were surprised in October when Pfizer announced plans to price it between $110 and $130. Analysts then predicted that Pfizer’s price would prompt Moderna and other vaccine makers to follow suit, which appears to be happening now.
Lawmakers have already criticized Pfizer for the big increase. In a letter sent last month to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) called the price hike “pure and deadly greed” and accused the company of “profiteering improper”.
“We urge you to withdraw the proposed price increase and ensure that vaccines for COVID-19 are reasonably priced and accessible to people across the United States,” they wrote.
The revelation that Moderna could match Pfizer’s price hike comes just a day after Moderna announced that sales of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2022 reached about $18.4 billion.
“We enter 2023 in a great position, with significant momentum across our clinical pipeline, a highly energized team and a strong balance sheet of over $18 billion in cash and cash equivalents,” Bancel said. of Moderna in a press release on Monday.
Moderna also noted in the release that it expects to make a minimum of $5 billion in sales of the COVID-19 vaccines in 2023.