Moderna’s COVID vaccine price high compared to others

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Given the unfortunate circumstances the world is passing through, the pricing of an effective COVID-19 vaccine is indeed a controversial matter which involves ethics as well as business bottom lines. 

Pharmaceutical organizations and research institutions across the globe have pumped billions of dollars into the initial development and subsequent clinical trials. Any price of a working vaccine will have to justify all the investment made by their developers.

Nations across the globe have also contributed billions to support and expedite the development of a viable COVID-19 vaccine to ensure that they are in the pole position to gather the vaccine for their citizens first.

The USA, for instance, has infused more than $8 billion through its “Operation Warp Speed” initiative to support the likes of Moderna who has charged the highest among the leading pack for a dose of its still trialed vaccine.

The early preorders disclosed by Moderna puts the price of its vaccine at $32 to $37 per dose. With a recommended 2-dose regimen, the cost of Moderna’s vaccine per person would touch almost $74 which is almost double to the suggested price per dose of $19.50, and a total cost of $39 per two-dose regimen of Pfizer’s vaccine, co-developed with the German firm BioNTech.

Another deal by Johnson & Johnson for $1 billion for its 100 million doses places a price tag of $10 per shot price.

Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel suggested several factors influencing the agreements struck in the future, including the number of doses being ordered, the clinical data available at the time of any deal and the structuring of payments.

Some of the biotech firms including Pfizer, Moderna are considering a two-price structure for their vaccine with one for during the pandemic, and another for when the immediate crisis subsides but the virus remains endemic.

Moderna’s vaccine would be worth nothing if it doesn’t work. Data released on earlier trials showed that the dose was generally safe, although it causes mild to moderate side effects in many people, and led to immune responses the company believes could be protective.

A Phase 3 trial involving involve some 30,000 people, designed to prove whether the vaccine is effective at mass usage started July 27 Moderna expects to close the enrollment as early as September.