Pfizer is looking to raise the price of its COVID-19 vaccines in the United States by up to four times once Washington’s purchase program ends, according to the company’s U.S. president, Angela Lukin.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is presently provided free for all Americans by the U.S. government. When the U.S. public health emergency expires, the COVID-19 vaccine market will move to private insurance. The federal government is paying roughly $30 per dose for the Pfizer vaccine. When the government purchase program shuts down, Lukin expects a dose to be priced around $110 to $130.
“We are confident that the U.S. price point of the COVID-19 vaccine reflects its overall cost-effectiveness and ensures the price will not be a barrier for access for patients,” Lukin said, according to Reuters.
The Pfizer executive is expecting the vaccine purchase to transfer to the private sector, “at the earliest,” by first quarter 2023. According to Lukin, the vaccine will continue to be available for free for people who have government or private insurance.
In 2021, Pfizer made almost $37 billion through COVID-19 vaccine sales, with overall revenues doubling, to $81.3 billion. The company is expecting revenues to reach $98 billion to $102 billion this year.
According to the UK-based organization Global Justice Now, Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot was developed by BioNTech and supported by a €375 million ($366 million) grant from the German government and €100 million ($97 million) in debt financing from the European Investment Bank, a publicly owned entity.
“We’ve let Pfizer withhold this essential medical innovation from much of the world, all the while ripping off public health systems with an eye-watering mark-up,” said Tim Bierley, a pharmaceutical campaigner at the group, according to The Guardian.
Shrinking Market, Vaccine Dangers
As fewer people take COVID-19 shots, vaccine manufacturers will have to raise prices significantly to meet revenue expectations that Wall Street has for 2023 and the years ahead.
Many experts were expecting the number of annual COVID-19 shots to be in line with the annual flu vaccine. In the United States, 160 million flu shots are administered every year. However, as many Americans are becoming reluctant to get COVID-19 shots, expectations of market size have tempered.
“The fact that you have people saying the pandemic is over doesn’t motivate people to get vaccinated,” Dr. Bruce Farber, chief of public health and epidemiology for New York hospital system Northwell Health, said to Reuters.
There are also growing worries about the potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines, which could dampen the market.
Recently, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo issued new guidance on mRNA COVID-19 vaccines like those manufactured by Pfizer. The guidance recommended males between the ages of 18 and 39 against taking such shots, warning about an increased risk of cardiac-related death.
Meanwhile, Pfizer has submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration to grant Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 vaccine boosters for children as young as five.
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