Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Pfizer's headquarters

People walk by the Pfizer world headquarters in New York on November 9, 2020. (Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images)

Insulated From Patent Waivers, Pfizer and Moderna Hike Vaccine Prices

"Capitalism never fails to not surprise," wrote one observer.

Julia Conley

With some of the world's wealthiest countries continuing to oppose temporary patent waivers for Covid-19 vaccines in order to more rapidly deploy life-saving shots worldwide, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna have raised the price for European Union orders.
 
In its new supply contract with the E.U., Pfizer named a price of more than $23 per dose, up nearly 25% from about $18 on earlier purchases. Moderna said in its latest agreement that its mRNA vaccine will cost one-tenth more than its previous price, charging $25.50 per dose.

"Our governments are complicit in this heist by pharma and companies across the board in other sectors. It's the system they helped create."
—Tahir Amin, intellectual property lawyer

 
The two companies plan to provide the E.U. with 2.1 billion vaccine doses until 2023, and are already expected to rake in tens of billions of dollars this year from vaccine sales.
 
"Capitalism never fails to not surprise," tweeted The New Yorker writer John Cassidy in response to reporting from the Financial Times.
 
With patent protections kept in place by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as E.U. countries including Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom oppose lifting Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for Covid-19-related products, vaccine doses have mainly been available in wealthy countries. 
 
According to the New York Times' latest analysis, 0.3% of doses have been administered in low-income countries, leading public health experts to warn that Covid-19 will continue to mutate and dangerous, highly infectious variants like Delta will continue to emerge and spread throughout the world.
 
The companies are raising their prices "just in time for the Delta variant," one observer wrote on Twitter.
 
Pfizer and Moderna have raised their prices as Europe faces supply chain issues with the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines—the latter of which has been more widely available in low-income countries—and as new studies showed higher efficacy of the mRNA vaccines compared to the cheaper shots.
 
An official involved in the price negotiations told the Financial Times that Pfizer and Moderna used the "usual pharma rhetoric" in discussing the price hikes.
 
"Vaccines work so they increased the 'value,'" the official said.
 
With the two companies continuing to sell most of its supply to high-income countries, Pfizer's sales are now expected to reach $56 billion and Moderna's are expected to reach $30 billion. 
 
"E.U., care to rethink your position on a patent waiver?," tweeted Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, which has been calling for the WTO to lift patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines for months.
 
Intellectual property lawyer Tahir Amin wrote on social media that lifting patent protections for vaccines, as South African and Indian WTO representatives first proposed last year, would suspend the tool "that enables and supports this monopoly" controlled by Big Pharma.
 
"Our governments are complicit in this heist by pharma and companies across the board in other sectors," Amin said.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo