Pfizer, Moderna and BioNTech making £48k a minute from vaccine supply

Gordon Brown warns 100 million vaccines could be wasted

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According to data from the People’s Vaccine Alliance Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna make $65k (£48.7k) a minute in combined profits from their vaccines, based on profits reported in the three companies’ latest reports. The group has called for patents to be lifted on vaccines arguing they should be seen as a global public good. Speaking to Sputnik France Prof Bizard, who is affiliated to ESCP Business School in Pairs, described the profits as “extraordinary”. He explained: “We are in an oligopoly situation: there is not enough competition for prices to adjust. It is the firms that set the prices.”

He also called for greater public ownership of pharmaceuticals in France adding: “We need a genuine public-private consortium to become once again what we were, a leader in research on this technology.”

People’s Vaccine Alliance have argued that pharmaceutical companies have prioritised contracts with richer countries.

Head of the People’s Vaccine Alliance Africa, Maaza Seyoum said: “It is obscene that just a few companies are making millions of dollars in profit every single hour, while just two percent of people in low-income countries have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.”

The view has also been echoed by Oxfam with Health Policy Manager Anna Marriott commenting that it was a: “Complete failure of government to allow these companies to maintain monopoly control and artificially constrain supply in the midst of a pandemic while so many people in the world are yet to be vaccinated.”

Despite his warnings over profits Prof Bizard recognised they should not overshadow the benefits vaccination had brought for society and the economy.

He explained the “losses that the vaccine prevented us from having are incomparable with the profits made by the laboratories”.

The pharmaceutical industry has long pointed to the significant costs involved in research and development as justification to holding on to patents.

However it is also argued sharing patents would not be sufficient to make a difference quickly enough due to the time taken to create new production sites.

Chair of Moderna Noubar Afeyan recently explained Moderna could increase global supply faster with its own production rather than through giving its technology to other nations.

He told Associated Press: “Within the next six to nine months, the most reliable way to make high-quality vaccines and in an efficient way is going to be if we make them.” has contacted Pfizer, Moderna and BioNTech for further comment.

The profitability of vaccines has been seen recently as the pharmaceutical industry responds to the new Omicron variant.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have said if the variant proved resistant it could produce a new updated vaccine in 100 days.

Pfizer’s share price rose two percent on Monday.

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Meanwhile Moderna moved markets yesterday after its CEO predicted existing vaccines would see a drop in efficacy against Omicron.

Moderna’s share price fell over five percent while markets globally also recoiled.

The FTSE 100 reversed previous gains to fall around 1.5 percent whilst the price of oil also slid lower over fears of new restrictions and lower demand.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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