Tuesday, September 28, 2021
HomeCOVID-19Caring, sharing Big Pharma hikes its vaccine prices

Caring, sharing Big Pharma hikes its vaccine prices

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BUMPER good times have arrived for those hard-working, community-minded souls from Big Pharma. According to reports in the Financial Times, Pfizer and Moderna have increased the prices of their Covid-19 vaccines in their most recent supply contract with the European Union. 

Despite mammoth government subsidies for research and development, taxpayer-funded immunity from litigation and guaranteed contracts for their questionable products for the foreseeable future, the geniuses behind the vaccine push are eager to take advantage of the manufactured global fear and hype to boost their already bloated profits. 

In a blatant example of market dynamics, the two US firms are capitalising as Europe grapples with a combination of supply disruption and increasingly negative PR about the side-effects of other vaccines, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Trialsitenews.com reported that the deal was ‘renegotiated’ after data from Phase 3 clinical trials showed Moderna and Pfizer provided more efficacy and fewer side-effects. According to the FT, Moderna increased its price per dose from about £16 to £18.29 while Pfizer’s went up from £13.19 to £16.59. The new deals cover up to 2.1billion doses until 2023. 

This market move comes at a time when the UK government has extended Covid-19 jabs to ‘vulnerable children’ and 16- to 17-year-olds and is looking to coerce all young people and workers into accepting these experimental pharmaceutical products in the face of low evidence of need and growing evidence of harm. 

Plans are on the way for the Covid Health Service to deliver ‘booster jabs’ throughout the autumn. Although the UK jab price has not been revealed, there is no expectation of any discount.

Even before this latest bounty, Covid-19 ‘vaccines’ had directly created at least nine billionaires with a combined wealth of nearly £14billion.

Sophie Squire, writing in the Socialist Worker, details those made billionaires by cashing in on Covid-19 vaccine production. Citing a report from the People’s Vaccine Alliance which analysed data from the Forbes Rich List, she says that the CEO of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, is now worth £3.8billion and its chairman, Noubar Afeyan, has accrued £1.3billion. Robert Langer, a scientist and founding investor in Moderna, is now a billionaire, as is Timothy Springer, an immunologist and founding investor in the same company.

Juan Lopez-Belmonte, chairman of ROVI, the company that manufactures and packages Moderna’s product, is worth around £1.2billion, and the CEO of BioNTech, Ugur Sahin, whose company jointly produces the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, has amassed £2.8billion. In addition, eight existing pharma billionaires have seen their combined wealth increase by more than £22.7billion since ‘the pandemic’ was initiated.

Drug companies defend their returns as ‘just reward’ for entrepreneurship, commercial risk and ‘brilliant research’, but this is claptrap. An article in the Scientific American lays out how public funding has been the key to virtually all Covid vaccines. It demonstrates how they have been based on a design developed with federal  finance by Dr Barney Graham and his team, then at Vanderbilt University. 

Graham is on record saying: ‘Having public-private partnerships is how things get done’ and with astonishing naivety he dismisses the lopsided risk/reward balance between government and ‘private enterprise’. He declares: ‘During this crisis, everything is focused on how can we do the best we can as fast as we can for the public health. All this other stuff is going to have to be figured out later.’ Oh, how the boardrooms of Big Pharma must have rung with chortling.

The article confirms that basic research conducted by Graham and others at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and at other federally funded academic laboratories has been the essential ingredient: indeed, that ‘the Moderna vaccine emerged directly out of a partnership between Moderna and Graham’s NIH laboratory’.

In March 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the UK was to be the biggest contributor to an international coalition to ‘find a vaccine’, with £210million of new funding to accelerate production of rapid tests and treatments for the virus.

The US government has given an additional $10.5billion (£7.4billion) to vaccine companies since the pandemic began to accelerate the development and delivery of their products. 

The current ‘vaccine business model’ is designed to benefit only the pharmaceutical companies. Taking from the many and giving to the few, it is morally repugnant and economically insane. 

Analysts predict that more than 16billion vaccines are required to ‘immunise everyone in the world against Covid-19’. If, as we are seeing, vaccine-produced immunity wanes over time, billions more doses will be sold as booster shots in years to come. The whole pandemic is a dream come true for the Big Pharma fat cats who are purring all the way to the bank. 

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Kate Dunlop
Kate Dunlop is a mediator.

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