On Monday, leading U.S. epidemiologist Anthony Fauci announced the start of phase 3 of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine study, the most advanced biotechnology in the race for a vaccine.
Thus, 30,000 volunteers have been recruited at 89 locations in the United States to receive the first injection of their experimental vaccine to test its effectiveness in a large sample of the population.
The authorities remind us, day by day, that the pandemic will not cease to be a threat until an effective vaccine is found to combat it. But once it is commercialized, how much will it cost governments to get the necessary doses?
According to the Financial Times, Moderna’s vaccine will be marketed at a much higher price than agreed last week by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
Specifically, they intend to sell it at a price of between $50 and $60 per cycle ($25-30 per dose), with priority given to the US and other high-income countries, which excludes countries with fewer resources.
While this figure is not necessarily definitive, it is not close to the $19.50 per dose agreed by the other pharmaceutical companies – Pfizer and BioNTech – which are also leading the race for the vaccine. It is also a far cry from AstraZeneca’s agreement with the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy, which set the price at $3 or $4 per dose.
Despite the fact that Moderna has managed to double the government funding of the drug to 955 million dollars, as announced on Sunday, the president of the US pharmaceutical company, Stephen Hoge, initially asked the buyers – including the EU – to set a price that would have at least double digits, according to the British newspaper.
“We will not sell it at cost,” Hoge admitted at a congressional hearing, claiming they intended to make a profit on the sales.
The final price, however, cannot be set until the vaccine(s) that prove to be effective are approved, and will depend on various factors such as demand, medical need, and efficacy.