Moderna CEO, Stéphane Bancel, told the Wall St Journal earlier this month about the biotech’s plans to quadruple the price of its COVID-19 vaccine, raising it to between $110 and $130 per dose.
The two senators sent Bancel a letter last week highlighting their concerns about any such potential price increases. The lawmakers are asking whether, at such a price range, the vaccine would be placed 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, who added that the Moderna benefitted from extensive taxpayer support for research and development of its shot.
The announcement came just months after Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, announced the company would be increasing the price of its COVID-19 vaccine, up to $130 per dose.
The senators said such developments raise questions about whether Pfizer’s price increase influenced Moderna to do the same:
“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,’” they wrote.
Moderna already earned $12bn in net income in 2021 and has projected that the revenue from the vaccine in 2023 will be “at least” $5bn even without this planned price hike, noted the lawmakers.
They are urging Moderna to reconsider the reported price increases and answer questions regarding the company’s pricing plans no later than February 7, 2023.
Their campaigning doesn't just stop at Moderna's door. In December 2022, Warren and Welch sent a letter to Bourla, outlining their oppostion to his company's plans to raise prices for its COVID-19 vaccine in the coming months.