Pharmaceuticals Pfizer Y Modern, the main distributors of vaccines against covid-19 in Spain, raise the price of their doses in the last contract with the European Union. According to an analysis published this Sunday in ‘The Financial Times‘, a Pfizer puncture will go from cost 15.50 to 19.50 euros Y a dose of Moderna will go from 19 to 21 euros, although the increase could have reached 24 euros per unit. This means that the price of injections has increased between a quarter and a tenth in the last agreements signed with Europe.
The increase in the price of doses, sources close to the negotiations reveal, it could be due to the good results of these formulas to curb the spread of covid-19 and the smooth functioning of its supply chain, especially compared to the bumpy road of AstraZeneca and Janssen. This, in turn, could have fueled the “usual pharmaceutical rhetoric” that “if vaccines work, their value increases“.
Both companies have declined to comment. on the cost of its products alleging confidentiality issues. Sources close to the European Commission argue that one of the reasons that could have led Europe to pay a higher price is that, in its day, it was negotiated like this to secure supplies from European manufacturing plants.
Opacity in contracts
The real price of vaccines against covid-19 has been one of the best-kept secrets of the pandemic. In fact, all negotiations between pharmaceutical companies and the European Commission, as well as the contracts signed to date, have remained under the stricter confidentiality. It is therefore impossible to know whether Europe has paid more than the United States. Or if, as companies promised at the beginning of this health crisis, lower-income countries are paying less for these drugs.
The opacity of vaccine prices has been widely criticized by politicians, NGOs and representatives of civil society. The collective pressure achieved that at the end of January, in full controversy over the distribution of AstraZeneca vaccines, the European Commission agreed to publish the contract with the pharmaceutical company. Days later, the contract signed with Pfizer was also leaked. Yes, both studded Y hiding key information such as, for example, the cost of production of drugs, the sale price of the same and the profit margin of the companies.
Just a few days ago, the coalition of organizations and activists from ‘People’s Vaccine’ reported that Pfizer and Moderna were taking advantage of its “oligopoly” to “charge governments around the world $ 41 billion more than estimated cost production of its vaccines. “As suggested by a recent analysis carried out by the entity, the European Union would have paid up to 31,000 million euros of extra cost; the equivalent of 19% of your total budget for 2021.
2.1 billion doses by 2023
The new contract of the pharmaceutical companies with the European Union, destined to supply vaccines to the Twenty-seven, including Spain, foresees the delivery of 2.1 billion injections until 2023. Brussels has also reserved the right to claim 1.8 billion additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine “if booster shots are needed and if we need additional vaccines in the context of variants.”
Forecasts suggest that both pharmaceutical companies could generate tens of billions of dollars this year with the sale of its vaccines against covid-19. According to the biotechnology consultancy Airfinity, Pfizer could reach the $ 56 billion and Modern the 30 billion with the distribution of these formulas against the coronavirus. Everything indicates that the income obtained by these companies, specialized in mRNA vaccines, will far exceed other companies specialized in more ‘traditional’ formulas such as AstraZeneca or Janssen.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.