[Ip-health] Guardian: Belgian minister tweets EU's Covid vaccine price list to anger of manufacturers

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri Dec 18 21:21:56 PST 2020


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/18/belgian-minister-accidentally-tweets-eus-covid-vaccine-price-list

<SNIP>

The UK, like the EU, has paid a considerable amount of money up front to
help in the development of a number of vaccines that may or may not work,
including AstraZeneca’s, so the final prices for those will be lower.
However, it did not support Pfizer/BioNTech nor Moderna, so will be left
with a high price tag for those vaccines.

The United States has paid higher prices than Europe. Bernstein Research,
an analysis and investment firm, calculated that the EU has a 24% discount
on the Pfizer vaccine compared with the United States. Part of the reason
may be that Europe helped fund the original research by BioNTech.

<SNIP>

At the other end of the scale, Moderna’s vaccine, developed in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, with $2.5bn of funding and orders from Operation Warp Speed,
will cost 20% more on the European market – $18 a dose compared with $15 in
the US.
<SNIP>

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/18/belgian-minister-accidentally-tweets-eus-covid-vaccine-price-list

Belgian minister tweets EU's Covid vaccine price list to anger of
manufacturers

Pharmaceutical companies complain of breach of confidentiality after amount
EU has agreed to pay for leading vaccines goes public

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Drug and vaccine prices have always been very closely guarded commercial
secrets. Photograph: Robin Utrecht/Rex/Shutterstock
Sarah Boseley <https://www.theguardian.com/profile/sarahboseley> Health
editor
Fri 18 Dec 2020 17.53 GMT


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665

A Belgian minister has blown the lid off a sensitive and commercial secret
– the price that the EU has agreed to pay for the leading Covid vaccines.

Belgium’s budget state secretary, Eva De Bleeker, posted the price list on
Twitter, with the amounts of each vaccine that her country intends to buy
from the EU. The tweet was quickly deleted, but not soon enough to prevent
interested parties taking screenshots, which have now made it public
knowledge.

While campaigners for access to medicines were delighted at the
transparency, pharmaceutical companies were not. Pfizer
<https://www.theguardian.com/business/pfizer> complained of a breach of
confidentiality. “These prices are covered by a confidentiality clause in
the contract with the European commission,” said Elisabeth Schraepen, the
US drugmaker’s spokeswoman for the Benelux region to the Belgian daily Le
Soir.

The price list revealed that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/08/oxford-astrazeneca-covid-vaccine-has-70-efficacy-full-trial-data-shows>
is
the cheapest and Moderna is the most expensive – as was already known. But
the details allow countries that may be negotiating with the vaccine
manufacturers to take a harder line.

This is the list of what the EU is paying:

   -

   Oxford/AstraZeneca: €1.78 (£1.61).
   -

   Johnson & Johnson: $8.50 (£6.30).
   -

   Sanofi/GSK: €7.56.
   -

   Pfizer/BioNTech: €12.
   -

   CureVac: €10.
   -

   Moderna: $18.

Every country in the world has an interest in mass vaccination against
Covid and there is a big effort to put together a programme to ensure all
countries can access enough to vaccinate the vulnerable. But drug and
vaccine prices have always been very closely guarded commercial secrets.

“We can’t say anything about this case, everything about vaccines and
prices are covered by confidentiality clauses, in the interests of society
and also in the interests of negotiations ongoing,” said a spokesman for
the European commission at a news briefing.

Belgium is buying more than 33m vaccines for a total of €279m (£253m).

The UK, which is not part of the EU scheme, has secured 357m doses of seven
different vaccines, including 40m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech, which was
authorised for use in the UK before the rest of the world. It also has 100m
doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A spokesperson for the British government said: “The cost of each vaccine
secured by the government was negotiated on a case-by-case basis and was
assessed to ensure value for money, while giving the UK the best chance of
rapidly obtaining and deploying a safe and effective vaccine.”

The UK, like the EU, has paid a considerable amount of money up front to
help in the development of a number of vaccines that may or may not work,
including AstraZeneca’s, so the final prices for those will be lower.
However, it did not support Pfizer/BioNTech nor Moderna, so will be left
with a high price tag for those vaccines.

The United States has paid higher prices than Europe. Bernstein Research,
an analysis and investment firm, calculated that the EU has a 24% discount
on the Pfizer vaccine compared with the United States. Part of the reason
may be that Europe helped fund the original research by BioNTech.

The US will pay $4 a dose for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine under
development, compared with the EU price of €1.78, which is 45% cheaper,
according to Bernstein.

At the other end of the scale, Moderna’s vaccine, developed in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, with $2.5bn of funding and orders from Operation Warp Speed,
will cost 20% more on the European market – $18 a dose compared with $15 in
the US.

Drugs and vaccines have traditionally been more expensive in the US because
there is no cost-effectiveness mechanism – as there is in the UK and some
other countries – to decide whether they are value for money. The free
market operates and drugs are paid for by health insurance schemes.


-- 
Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org


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