Senators Warren, Welch Raise Concerns over Moderna’s Planned COVID-19 Vaccine Price Hike
“We urge you to reconsider your proposed price increases and ensure COVID-19 vaccines are reasonably priced and accessible to people across the United States.”
Washington, D.C. — United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) sent a letter with a series of questions to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, amid reports that Moderna plans to dramatically increase the price of its COVID-19 vaccine this year. The lawmakers are requesting information about the price hikes and whether they would place the vaccine out of reach for many uninsured or under-insured Americans.
“Moderna’s reported plans to charge as much as $130 per dose for its COVID-19 vaccines could prolong the public health crisis caused by COVID-19 and leave many uninsured Americans simply unable to afford the vaccine,” said the lawmakers.
Moderna recently announced plans to quadruple the price of its COVID-19 vaccine, raising it to between $110 and$130 per dose. The announcement came just months after Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla announced the company would be increasing the price of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine up to $130 per dose, raising questions about whether Pfizer’s price increase influenced Moderna to do the same while the United States remains in a public health emergency.
“When Pfizer announced plans to raise the price of its COVID-19 vaccine in October 2022, we warned that these hikes could ‘pave the way for other vaccine manufacturers […] to raise the prices of their vaccines,’” wrote the lawmakers. “Moderna’s price hikes, aside from threatening public health, also raise questions about how Pfizer’s similar announcement of vaccine price hikes in October 2022 may have influenced Moderna’s decision-making process regarding its vaccine prices.”
Moderna already earned $12 billion in net income in 2021 and is projected to bring in “at least” $5 billion in additional revenue even without this planned price hike. In addition, Moderna executives and stakeholders stand to benefit from a $3 billion buyback program. The lawmakers are urging Moderna to reconsider the reported price increases and answer questions regarding the company’s pricing plans no later than February 7, 2023.
Senator Warren has long fought to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine is accessible and affordable for everyone:
- In December 2022, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Senator-elect Peter Welch (D-Vermont) sent a letter to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, criticizing Pfizer’s plans to dramatically increase prices for its COVID-19 vaccine in the new year, which would make it more difficult for millions of Americans to afford the vaccine.
- In July 2021, Senator Warren, Rep. Jayapal (D-Wash.), and their colleagues called on Congress to provide $34 billion for global vaccine manufacturing in the reconciliation package. She also called on Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson to expand global vaccine access.
- In June 2021, Senator Warren sent a letter with Senator Murphy (D-Conn.), and Representatives Porter (D-Calif.) and Pocan (D-Wis.) to Moderna CEO Albert Bourla, raising concerns over Moderna executives' statements earlier that year indicating the company would significantly raise the price of its COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2, once the pandemic subsides.
- In April 2021, Senator Warren, along with Senators Markey (D-Mass.), Baldwin (D-Wis.), Merkley (D-Ore.), and Murphy (D-Conn.) sent letters to Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson requesting information on their plans to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine manufacturing capacity across the globe.
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