Big Pharma Jake Johnson Pandemic

Pfizer Condemned for Hiking US Covid Vaccine Price by 10,000% Above Cost

The pandemic profiteering is never-ending.
[Felton Davis / CC BY 2.0]

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

Vaccine equity campaigners on Friday condemned Pfizer for announcing that it will soon raise the price of its publicly funded Covid-19 shot to between $110 and $130 per dose in the U.S., a move that comes as the Biden administration is preparing to end the nation’s free coronavirus vaccine program as pandemic response funding runs dry.

Reuters reported late Thursday that Angela Lukin, an executive at Pfizer, said the New York-based pharmaceutical giant “expects” that the vaccine “will be made available at no cost to people who have private insurance or government-paid insurance.”

The outlet noted that Lukin did not say whether the company will make any accommodations for the tens of millions of people in the U.S. without any health insurance.

The People’s Vaccine Alliance said in a statement Friday that Pfizer’s planned price hike would amount to a 10,000% markup above the cost of producing the vaccine, which is estimated to be as low as $1.18 per dose.

The U.S. currently pays around $30 per dose for Pfizer’s shot.

“While health workers and the vulnerable continue to go unvaccinated in developing countries, Pfizer is shamelessly fleecing the public for ever-greater sums of money,” said Julia Kosgei, policy adviser to the People’s Vaccine Alliance. “This latest obscene price hike is truly a mask-off moment for one of the great profiteers of this pandemic.”

In the second quarter of this year, Pfizer reported a 78% increase in overall profit compared to the same period in 2021 and said its coronavirus vaccine revenue was $32 billion. The firm is set to report third-quarter earnings early next month.

“This is daylight robbery,” Kosgei said of the coming price increase. “Governments must not stand by while companies like Pfizer hold the world to ransom in a global pandemic.”

“This isn’t just about vaccines,” Kosgei added. “Right now, people in developing countries are dying without access to Paxlovid, an antiviral Covid-19 treatment for which Pfizer is charging hundreds of dollars per course. But there is a proposal at the World Trade Organization that would make it easier for poorer countries to produce generic doses. It’s time for governments to stand up to pandemic profiteers and support it.”

Earlier this year, rich countries at the World Trade Organization tanked a popular proposal to temporarily waive coronavirus vaccine patents, a step that would help facilitate the production of generic doses for developing nations. At present, just 23.3% of people in low-income countries have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose.

Pfizer, along with other pharmaceutical giants, fervently opposed the patent waiver as it sought to preserve its control over production and distribution of the shots, which were developed using government-funded technology.

During a recent panel discussion, World Health Organization Director of Health Emergencies Mike Ryan said the failure to ensure global vaccine equity and prevent millions of deaths was “because of the greed of the north” and “the greed of the pharmaceutical industry.

“We failed because of the self-interest of certain member states that were not prepared to share,” Ryan added.

The Biden administration, which has faced criticism for falling short of its vaccine donations pledges, is taking steps to transition away from providing free vaccines to the U.S. public.

As the Wall Street Journal reported in August, the shift will give “more control of pricing and coverage to the healthcare industry in ways that could generate sales for companies—and costs for consumers—for years to come.”

The early stages of the transition have begun amid mounting fears of a winter spike in coronavirus infections and deaths. Just 4% of eligible people have received the newest Covid-19 booster, according to government data.

While the Biden administration has called for additional pandemic response funding to purchase more tests, treatments, and next-generation vaccines, the effort faces opposition from Republicans who have seized on President Joe Biden’s recent claim that the “pandemic is over” to justify blocking the White House’s request.

“We know from our clinical and research experience that the pandemic is far from over, and that national efforts to secure the health and well-being of the American public are far from complete,” a group of health experts wrote in an open letter earlier this month. “We are deeply concerned that the Biden administration is minimizing Covid at a time when it needs to be redoubling its efforts to ensure funding and resources to prevent another surge.”


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16 comments

  1. The psychopathic greed of Big Pharma is impossible to exaggerate, as is the absolute corruption of our elected representatives. Every branch of government appears to be waging war on the working class.

  2. What a smart way for Pfizer to set up the conditions to kill off poor(er) people while making an obscene profit from a vaccine that originally got a big chunk of our tax dollars for research. The niggardly Biden Administration! What a contrast between their penny pinching proclivity for reducing access to vaccines by their own citizens while sparing not a dime to grow the weapons making corporations flush with purchases for missiles, bombs and drones dedicated to death and destruction in Ukraine and Taiwan. Has China’s incredible exponential development come from
    playing games with power to serve the rich or come from a powerful vision of the whole and servicing
    the whole of their country?

  3. Very common business practice: when you have a crap product, raise the price so people think it is worth something. Multiple studies have now shown the vaccine has no effect whatsoever on the death rate, which is the only important end point.

    1. The same demographic groups (the Elderly– median age of Covid death about 82, the Seriously Ill, and people with no or little access to health care) have been dying since the start of the pandemic, with no major effect of the mRNA vaccines (all that are currently used in the US).

      The vaccine mandates were insane! Their purpose (beyond the obvious politics) would be to stop spread of Covid to the most vulnerable. By August 2021, it was well known that the “leaky” mRNA vaccines did not stop spread of Covid but rather increased spread (the vaccinated were allowed access to many venues that the unvaccinated were not, and thus spread the virus much more; the vaccinated brought omicron from South Africa as they the only ones allowed to fly and to spread the virus). Yet the mandate was implemented anyway, and is still in place in some areas.
      The mRNA vaccines were shown in their only Gold Standard clinical trials (their Emergency Use Authorization clinical trials– double blinded, placebo controlled, >37,000 subjects vaccinated with mRNA vaccines and >37,000 with placebo) to lower Covid deaths from 5 in the placebo groups to 2 in the vaccinated groups. The vaccines INCREASED non-Covid deaths from 25 in the placebo groups to 29 in the mRNA vaccine groups (so they killed 4 to save 3?) Actually the deaths were so low, the death numbers were statistically not significant, to be meaningless in these Gold Standard clinical trials (the CDC had said Covid had an infection death rate of 0.1 to 1%; these trials showed the placebo deaths from Covid were only 0.0135%, presuming the ‘raging’ pandemic was even occurring before the universal vaccination campaign.) A drop of 5 Covid deaths to 2 in the vaccinated is only a 2.5-fold protection; Biden claimed a 200-fold protection in July 2021, pulled out of thin air– that would have been an effective vaccine! Pfizer’s and Moderna’s were not.

      The important thing was that our Public Health Officials made record profits: “in January 2020, … officials at the Department of Health and Human Services overall reported 60% more sales of stocks that month compared to the previous 12 months.” This is to be expected when health care is for profit, and success is judged by how much money is being made rather than how many lives are being saved.

  4. I think this is completely missing the point. The reality is that these vaccines and new drugs are highly toxic, and there have been literally 1000s of excess deaths and severe adverse effects from these products. That’s why thousands of doctors from all over the world are calling for an immediate halt to these products.
    Despite media lies, Ivermectin and hydroxychlorine have proven to be very effective early treatments. So many lives had been saved had people been given early treatments, instead of being told to wait until they could no longer breathe, then sent to hospitals to be killed with the extremely toxic Remdesivir and respirators.

    Please explain why in Haiti, where there is near zero vaccination rate, Covid-19 is virtually non-existent, and in places like Uttar Pradesh in India, where everyone had access to Ivermectin, the Covid-19 rate plummeted rapidly, despite a very low vaccination rate.

  5. Susan Lippman – If you want the reader to take what you say seriously – help us out by citing references to back up your claims – for such statements as “ there have been literally 1000s of excess deaths and severe adverse effects from these products. That’s why thousands of doctors from all over the world are calling for an immediate halt to these products.” And this statement “in Haiti, where there is near zero vaccination rate, Covid-19 is virtually non-existent”. I found this on worldometers.com Haiti has had 33,764 Coronavirus cases of which 31,434were recovered but 857 of which died.” I found in https://COVID-19.who.int that “as of September 16, 2022, a total of 470,964 vaccine doses have been administered.” And on pahó.org there is this: “By September 2022…only 1.9%of the Haitian population had received the first two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

    1. Selina Sweet– Haiti’s Covid death rate is 73 per million; the US Covid death rate is 3263 per million (over 44-fold higher! (worldometers.info/coronavirus/)

      As Iceland’s head epidemiologist noted universal vaccination with the leaky mRNA vaccines is a huge mistake: riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/modern-day-censorship/herd-immunity-must-be-achieved-by-trans mission-of-the-virus-says-icelands-epidemiologist/
      Although lauded by the US as a hero for Iceland’s “successful” vaccine campaign, he could see the disaster coming: there were 30 Covid deaths before the mRNA vaccines, there have been 183 Covid deaths since in a very small country (worldometers.info). Globally Covid vaccination campaigns have been associated with increased Covid infections and thus more deaths; natural immunity is much (10- to 30-fold better than the mRNA vaccines (Gazit et al, 2021).

      In fact of the only 15 countries in the world with worse Covid death rates than the US, over a dozen are bordering / near Ukraine and the US Bioweapons labs there (Ukraine, an East Slavic country, has a relatively low Covid death rate compared to these countries with West and South Slavic populations, and also has a low vaccination rate <35% (ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations), important if you want the population to be carriers of a genetic-specific variant.) Of course this could all be coincidence!

      1. In your own citation this – Thorolfur Guðnason
        says vaccination has not been in vain. “Vaccination has prevented severe disease, there is no question about that.”

  6. If the killer virus that Boston University recently created escapes, then we might as well kiss our butts good bye. They made a covid variant that killed 80% if their “humanized ” mouse test population. It is essentially a biological weapon which was designed to cause maximum inflammation in lower lung tissue and evade immune response. There should be some special award for human arrogance and stupidity.

    As far as the vaccines go I noticed that 41% (San Diego county health figures) of the people hospitalized for covid infection that died were fully vaccinated. I don’t like those odds. I also noticed a report which stated that European Union and UK officials requested information on initial testing of vaccines from Pfizer and they got a fully redacted report which was totally blacked out. Needless to say they are pissed off. So what is Pfizer hiding?

    As it stands our government gave in to corporate power and gave up its own regulative power. They make the Marx brothers look like heroes.

  7. the hypocritical ruling class common dreams apologists —promoters of the scamdemic, the corporate narrative that the fake vaccines are necessary now complains about Pfizer? despicable…they are likely funded by Pfizer….but they have refused to apologize for their lies. there is nothing intellectually responsible published by CD—

    1. I had to ditch CD when Covid19 was introduced, as their liberal apologia – always stomach churning – turned into full-time subservience to power and “anti-vax” scolding, like so many others. I can get all that nonsense from cable “news.”

      Many journals have shown courage in examining the harms done in the last 3 years – the contradictions, the conflicts of interest, the data manipulation, the gaslighting, the lies, and the relentless propaganda. But not CD. They are the Bernie Sanders of “news.”

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