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Pfizer chief says Covid will continue to be a ‘multi-billion dollar franchise for many years to come’ — as firm prepares to triple price of shot to $130

  • The price hike is a result of dwinding government funds for vaccine doses 
  • The uninsured population will be on the hook for the out of pocket cost of shots
  • Pfizer has earned about $80bn on vaccines and the antiviral drug Paxlovid 

Pfizer’s chief financial officer has described the Covid pandemic as a ‘multi-billion dollar franchise’ — and expects profit to continue.

David Denton told investors in an earnings call last week his company’s vaccine and antiviral would still be ‘relevant for many years to come’.

The CFO said he expects the Covid virus to be ‘somewhat like a flu… but more deadly’ — meaning therapeutics will still have a massive role in controlling the virus.

So far Pfizer reaped about $80 billion in yearly revenue from sales of Covid vaccines and the antiviral drug Paxlovid.

The company announced last month it will triple the price of its shot to up to $130 per dose next year — a far cry from the roughly $19 to $30 per dose that the government paid.

Some experts estimate each individual shot to cost just $1.18 to make — meaning the new price represents a 10,000 per cent markup.

Analysts speculate that the move was made so Pfizer could still meet its target of $32 billion of projected vaccine revenue this year. 

Contracts signed by the government to secure billions of doses of vaccines at no cost to Americans will run out soon, shifting the cost of purchasing shots to health insurance companies.

Pfizer CFO David Denton told investors: ‘I think if you look out longer term, the franchise is going to be a multibillion-dollar franchise in the respect that this is going to be somewhat like a flu, harga pcp bullpup lokal sustained flu, but actually more deadly than the flu.

‘I think the products, both from a vaccine and the therapy perspective that Pfizer has developed, are going to be quite relevant for many years to come,’ he said.

Pfizer is charging $130 for its COVID-19 vaccine  – a 10,000% mark-up from the estimated $1.18 it costs them to develop a single dose of the vaccine. The firm was charging the US government around $20 per shot but rose prices in an effort to make up for poor demand for the jabs. It is forecasted to rake in over $100billion in revenue this year, and brought in $81.2billion last year. These figures well clear the $40billion per year it was earning the years prior. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has earned $50million in compensation over the past two years, while BioNTech found Dr Ugar Sahin is now a billionaire.

The mRNA vaccine, developed with Germany-based BioNTech, will soon become pricier for people without health insurance as government contracts that made the shots free for all Americans are slated to expire

Pfizer has raked in $100 billion from selling Covid-19 vaccines and treatments to the US and foreign governments. The vaccine alone garnered global revenue exceeding $36 billion in 2021

Pfizer’s move to hike up the cost of each Covid shot for the private health insurance market likely would not affect people with private insurance or those enrolled in the government healthcare programs Medicare and Medicaid. Health plans typically cover the costs of vaccines.

Pfizer’s new 80% effective RSV vaccine gives hope to overwhelmed pediatric hospitals 

Pfizer has announced its experimental RSV vaccine is highly effective — in a glimmer of hope for parents and doctors.

The pharmaceutical giant announced its shot can reduce the risk of hospitalization among infants up to six months of age infected with the seasonal virus.

If approved, it would be the first vaccine for RSV, which kills between 100 and 500 children under five and hospitalizes about 58,000 each year.

That could prove a lifeline for hospitals which are currently overwhelmed with unseasonably high cases of the virus – which has been blamed on lockdowns suppressing children’s immunity.

The vaccine is administered to pregnant women during the late second to third trimester of their pregnancy. Vaccination during pregnancy allows the antibodies to travel into the placenta, conferring protection to the fetus.

Pfizer’s trial included 7,400 pregnant women in 18 countries who either received a dose of the experimental vaccine or a placebo.

Pfizer expects to finalize its petition for approval from the Food and Drug Administration by the end of 2022, potentially setting up a federal go-ahead before the next respiratory infection season kicks off.

But people paying out of pocket may be forced to pay more for a Covid shot than the cost of a flu shot, which can range in price from around $50 to $95.

Critics say that the decision shows the firm’s greed. Peter Maybarduk, director of access to medicines at Public Citizen, told that the firm was already in a good of financial position that they could take some loss. 

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told investors last Tuesday: ‘With regard to our COVID-19 products, while their sales may fall from our expected 2022 levels of approximately combined $55 billion, we believe our COVID-19 franchises will remain multibillion-dollar revenue generators for the foreseeable future which should serve as a buffer for any unforeseen challenges with other products in our portfolio.’

The federal government was able to foot the bill for vaccines for so long thanks to purchasing deals with manufacturers.

 The government has spent billions of dollars on vaccine purchases, but the doses that have been stockpiled are dwindling without prospects for being replenished.

The Biden administration will require congressional action to draw up a new contract with Pfizer for more vaccines.

In September, the White House petitioned Congress for an additional $22.4 billion in COVID-19 funding. Funds to buy and distribute shots could dry up as early as January 2021 and a Republican-controlled Congress is not likely to replenish those coffers.

The GOP is slated to win big in this year’s midterm elections. Party leadership has previewed plans to probe what they see as the Biden administration’s unaccountable coronavirus spending.

Pfizer expects to get even richer regardless of any new government contract thanks to its many lucrative business acquisitions. 

In October, it purchased the drug company Biohaven, whose migraine drug Nurtec ODT brought in $324 million in the first half of 2022, for about $11.6 billion.

The company also expects its vaccines in development for respiratory syncitial virus to be a big earner once it earns regulatory approval. The company is working on shots to help seniors who are at higher risk of contracting the disease as well as pregnant women who, when given the shots, confer some protection to their babies in utero.

Bourla said: ‘So there is the potential that, subject to regulatory approval, by late 2023, early 2024, we could have the only RSV maternal vaccine in the market, along with an RSV vaccine for older adults.’

‘Combined, the 2 indications represent a potential multibillion-dollar peak revenue opportunity if approved, especially with our highly respected primary care sales force executing these launches,’ he added.

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