Senate HELP Committee to Question Moderna CEO on Nearly 500 Percent Price Hike on COVID-19 Vaccine Developed with Taxpayer Investment
As COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic coverage shifts to the commercial market, Big Pharma is increasingly and brazenly trying to price-gouge the American people and health care system. Big Pharma’s price hikes on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments are especially egregious considering U.S. taxpayers paid for the development of some of these products and picked up the tab for billions of dollars in sales for others.
This week, Members of Congress have an opportunity to hold Big Pharma accountable for profiteering on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, starting with Moderna. On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) is set to host a full committee hearing with Moderna CEO, Stéphane Bancel, titled “Taxpayers Paid Billions For It: So Why Would Moderna Consider Quadrupling the Price of the COVID Vaccine?”
The hearing will examine the brand name drug company’s decision to hike the price of its COVID-19 vaccine, branded under the name Spikevax, from a price of around $26 per dose to as much as $130 per dose, as payment shifts from the U.S. Government to the private market. Moderna’s proposed price hike would amount to a nearly 500 percent increase on the vaccine despite already receiving billions of dollars from taxpayers to pay for and acquire the shot.
The U.S. Government funded research that led to some of the underlying technology behind the company’s vaccine. Taxpayers later provided an almost $10 billion investment to help develop and purchase doses of the vaccine. This enabled the company to make windfall profits and ensured massive paydays for the company’s executives.
Shortly after U.S. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called on Moderna’s CEO to testify, Moderna announced plans to ensure shots of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine would remain free for patients. However, the company’s proposed mechanism to accomplish this – a patience assistance program – will ultimately only pass these costs along to taxpayers and the health care system.
Moderna is not the only Big Pharma giant looking to squeeze additional profits out of COVID-19 products through price increases ahead of commercial distribution.
According to a January Morning Consult poll commissioned by CSRxP, 84 percent voters expressed concern when they heard that the brand name manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, including Pfizer, Moderna and Eli Lilly, were increasing prices on these products as they move to the commercial market.
Big Pharma’s eagerness to profiteer off of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, including those developed with substantial investment from taxpayers, demonstrates yet again why policymakers must focus on holding the pharmaceutical industry accountable to lower drug prices.
Watch the Senate HELP Committee’s full hearing on Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine price increases HERE.
Read more about Moderna and other brand name drug makers’ proposed COVID-19 vaccine price hikes HERE.
Learn more about bipartisan, market-based solutions to hold Big Pharma accountable HERE.