Pharma Execs Say They Plan to Profit on COVID-19 Vaccine
Multiple pharmaceutical companies have taken huge U.S. government grants to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 — but some still plan to sell the vaccines for a profit once they’re ready.
AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna all took funding from the federal government in hopes of developing a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus, The New York Times reports. But Moderna — which received $483 million in government funding — and Pfizer, which didn’t take government funds, said that they still expect to profit off the final product.
“We will not sell it at cost,” Moderna president Stephen Hodge said at a Tuesday Congressional hearing, according to the NYT.
At the same hearing, Pfizer Chief Business Officer John Young also made a vague statement about finding an appropriate, affordable price for the company’s vaccine, but also clarified that the company would be making a profit.
No matter what Pfizer and Moderna end up deciding is an appropriate price, the NYT reports that lawmakers at the hearing were concerned that a for-profit system for coronavirus vaccines would be too costly for too many people who need the shot.
“I don’t want to look back, and then have health equity be an afterthought,” California Representative Dr. Raul Ruiz said. “It has to be prioritized.”
An effective coronavirus vaccine is considered a necessary preventative measure for restoring a semblance of normal life. If pharmaceutical companies are seeking to profit off of them, then they could be priced out of “the hands of the people that need this most,” Ruiz said.