Pfizer CEO defends the idea of companies profiting off coronavirus vaccines

Pfizer CEO Albert BourlaAP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
  • There are 164 coronavirus vaccine projects in the works, according to the World Health Organization.
  • Pfizer is working with European pharmaceutical firm BioNTech to create a coronavirus vaccine it's aiming to make available for emergency use this fall.
  • Lawmakers are urging companies to sell their vaccines at cost.
  • Pfizer's CEO in a recent interview defending companies making a profit on the vaccines.

As coronavirus vaccines candidates continue their trials before getting FDA approval, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla disagrees with the notion that the companies developing them shouldn't profit.

"I think it's very wrong," Bourla told Barron's on Tuesday. "The private sector found the solution for diagnostics ... and is along [the] way to find more solutions for therapeutics and vaccines."

Phase 3 trials of Pfizer's vaccine candidate started this week. According to Bourla, the vaccine is being "executed meticulously well."Advertisement

If approved for emergency use, Pfizer will send 100 million doses for US government use. The US government will pay $1.95 billion for these doses, totalling roughly $19.50 per shot.

Pfizer is not the only company that hopes to have a vaccine ready by the fall.

AstraZeneca/Oxford and Moderna are also on track to have their vaccines ready for emergency use. Those at high risk for contracting the virus, including healthcare workers and the elderly, would be able to get the vaccine if the FDA approves it for this use.
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There are no solid numbers for how much a company stands to make from a coronavirus vaccine once it hits the market.

Last week, Rep. Jan Schakowsky-Ill. requested for companies that received government assistance for development of the coronavirus vaccine to sell the vaccine at cost, according to NPR. While responses varied, it's important to note that Pfizer did not use any government funds for the development of their vaccines. "During the pandemic, we just went with the price that is the very low end of whatever exists," Bourla in the interview. "It's fractions of what vaccines of this high technology are sold [for] in the U.S."Advertisement

AstraZeneca has ple ged to sell their vaccine at no profit to the government, while Johnson & Johnson will sell their vaccine at a "not-for-profit price" for emergency pandemic use.

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