Moderna is considering raising the price of its COVID-19 vaccine by over 400 percent—from $26 per dose to between $110 and $130 per dose—according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Ars has reached out to Moderna for comment but has not yet received a response. The plan, if realized, would match the previously announced price hike for Pfizer-BioNTech’s rival COVID-19 vaccine.
The Journal spoke with Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco Monday, who said of the 400 percent price hike: “I would think this type of pricing is consistent with the value.”
Until now, the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines 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 shot cost the government $26 per dose, up from $15–$16 per dose in earlier supply contracts, the Journal notes. Similarly, the government paid a little over $30 per dose for Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine this past summer, up from $19.50 per dose in contracts from 2020.
But now that the federal government is backing away from distributing the vaccines, their makers are moving to the commercial market—with price adjustments. Financial analysts had previously anticipated Pfizer would set the commercial price for its vaccine at just $50 per dose but were taken aback in October when Pfizer announced plans of a price between $110 and $130. Analysts then anticipated that Pfizer’s price would push Moderna and other vaccine makers to follow suit, which appears to be happening now.
Lawmakers have already lambasted Pfizer for the steep increase. In a letter sent last month to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) called the price hike “pure and deadly greed” and accused the company of “unseemly profiteering.”
“We urge you to back off from your proposed price increases and ensure COVID-19 vaccines are reasonably priced and accessible to people across the United States,” they wrote.
The revelation that Moderna may match Pfizer’s price increase comes just a day after Moderna announced that its COVID-19 vaccine sales in 2022 totaled approximately $18.4 billion.