AP – Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on Wednesday defended a plan to more than quadruple the company’s COVID-19 vaccine price, but he also said the drugmaker will work to ensure patients continue paying nothing at drugstores or clinics.
Stephane Bancel told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that the drugmaker will charge a list price of around USD130 per dose for the vaccine in the United States (US).
That price is expected to go into effect later this year. Until now, the federal government had been Moderna’s lone US customer, buying doses in bulk to make sure that people weren’t charged anything.
The government paid around USD15 per dose in 2020 and more than USD26 last summer for Moderna’s bivalent booster, according to an analysis by the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.
More than 270 million doses of Moderna’s original COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots have been administered in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That makes it the second most popular coronavirus vaccine, trailing the shot made by Pfizer, which is also raising prices.
Senator Bernie Sanders, noted that Moderna has made more than USD20 billion in profits over the past two years, and the federal government contributed billions of dollars toward the vaccine’s development.
The hike will hit government payers like Medicaid and cost taxpayers, Sanders said as he pressed Bancel to reconsider the price.