Pfizer Eyes Price Hikes for COVID Shots

On Thursday, Pfizer executive Angela Lukin announced that the company would likely quadruple the price of its COVID vaccine to between $110 and $130 per dose after the US government's emergency purchase program ends.

Pfizer Eyes Price Hikes for COVID Shots
Image credit: Mufid Majnun / Unsplash

Facts

  • On Thursday, Pfizer executive Angela Lukin announced that the company would likely quadruple the price of its COVID vaccine to between $110 and $130 per dose after the US government's emergency purchase program ends.
  • Lukin predicted that the vaccine would still be available at no cost to those with private or government-paid insurance. The cost to those with no health insurance is unclear.
  • The transition to a commercial market is expected next year. The price hike could add between $2.5B to $3B to Pfizer's revenue and could set a precedent for competitors such as Novavax and Moderna to follow suit.
  • An analysis from NGO Kaiser Family Foundation suggested that while those with health insurance will likely not see direct out-of-pocket expenses for future COVID jabs, the costs may be integrated into premiums. Wall Street analysts lauded the move for its ability to boost revenue, and Pfizer stocks rose more than 4.5% as of Friday morning.
  • Pfizer's price hike is also seen as a market reaction to a slowing vaccine demand. COVID vaccine demand has declined — with two-thirds of Americans reportedly not planning to get a jab soon — in part due to messaging that the pandemic phase is over.
  • This comes as public health officials are concerned about a new round of COVID Omicron subvariants, dubbed "Scrabble" — with letter designations such as BQ.1 and XBB. The new variants could drive a winter surge of infections in the US.

Sources: Reuters, Finance, Market Watch, and CNN.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Common Dreams. COVID vaccines should be a public good for the entire world, yet they've been put shamelessly into the hands of Big Pharma. Now Pfizer will leverage insurance to fleece a 10,000X windfall from the American public while vaccine equity goes unaddressed in vulnerable populations. This is obscene robbery in broad daylight, and the US government must not allow Pfizer to hold the world for ransom in a global pandemic.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Fierce Pharma. Pfizer skyrocketed to pandemic superstar status with its COVID vaccine, which reduced severe illness and death for millions in the US and around the world. The market responds to natural supply and demand, and eventually, its COVID vaccine and anti-viral pill Paxlovid will see a demand drop and be institutionalized in the medical marketplace. Pfizer is now on to exciting innovations to treat cancer and inflammation, which will be a boon for global health.

Predictions