Oct 21, 2022 - Health

Pfizer to charge $110-$130 a dose for COVID vaccines

Photo Illustration: Nikos Pekiaridis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pfizer plans to charge $110 to $130 per dose for its COVID-19 vaccine once government purchases end next year, the drugmaker's U.S. president said on an investor call Thursday.

The big picture: Weak demand for the shots and private market pressures were expected to cost manufacturers billions once government purchases end. Price increases, while expected, could lead to higher insurance premiums.

  • The government now pays about $30 a dose to Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.

Driving the news: Angela Lukin, Pfizer's global primary care and U.S. president, said on the investor call that the new private market pricing "reflects the value this vaccine has brought to society" and was "well below the thresholds for what would be considered a highly cost effective vaccine."

  • The price reflects the cost of developing a single-dose shot and distributing it, she said.
  • But the announcement brought swift criticism from some advocacy groups. Julia Kosgei, policy advisor to the People's Vaccine Alliance, called it "truly a mask-off moment for one of the great profiteers of this pandemic."

Catch up quick: Next year, Americans will lose free access to government-funded COVID tests, treatments and vaccines. The cost will begin to be transferred to patients through premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

  • Pfizer and BioNTech this summer signed a $3.2 billion deal with the U.S. government for 105 million more doses of vaccine in anticipation of a fall surge of new cases.
  • Centers for Disease Control advisers on Thursday unanimously voted to add COVID-19 vaccines to the 2023 schedule of childhood and adult immunizations. Health plans are required to cover vaccines listed on the schedule.

What we're watching: While vaccines will continue to be available to virtually anyone with public and private insurance in a private market, it's not clear how much access the uninsured will have.

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