Jun 10, 2020 - Health

Pfizer says it won't put "huge price" on coronavirus vaccine

Albert Bourla standing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with trading monitors in the background.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sees the pandemic as a chance for Big Pharma to "reset" its reputation. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Pfizer won't try to break the bank if it's able to develop a coronavirus vaccine, CEO Albert Bourla said yesterday during a virtual conference held by Goldman Sachs.

What he said: "If we were to implement free, open-market principles in pricing the product, we could go to huge prices and sell everything we can manufacture. But it would be unethical, I think. We will not do it, because that's really taking advantage of a situation, and people will not forget if you do that."

Yes, but: Bourla still said a vaccine is a "huge commercial opportunity," so Pfizer's definition of a fair price may differ from consumer advocates'.

  • Pfizer's best-selling drug is a vaccine, and the company has been criticized for raising its price.

Between the lines: The pandemic has taken some of the heat off the pharmaceutical industry's pricing tactics, and drug manufacturers are making an aggressive push to "refurbish their public image," Kaiser Health News reported last month.

  • Some of the industry's "strict critics ... are slowing down their criticism now," Bourla said during the conference. "Now is a great opportunity to reset all this."
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