While the world’s economic cycle has been paralyzed due to COVID-19, the pharmaceutical companies are ready to skim the profit they have never thought of. The race of vaccine is now among the nations, the horses in this race are ranging from multinational pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer to a small biotechnology company Moderna, that has never brought a drug to the market. The big countries behind have invested some serious money in these companies not only for the sake of getting a solution for coronavirus but they are seeing huge profits as the customer for this product is the WHOLE WORLD. Two other companies that received funding for clinical research from Governments are AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
The loss-making US biotech firm Moderna, which has received nearly $1bn in research funding from the US government, has priced its vaccine at $32 to $37 a shot. Profits will also obviously depend on whether the vaccine continues to be needed, which could also impact those vaccine manufacturers coming late to the market.
Both firms are betting heavily on a brand new vaccine in order to take the first-mover advantage. It is strange that for years, Moderna had been working on the project, while Pfizer had collaborated with BioNTech, a smaller German biotechnology firm, for its mRNA research. But when it comes to their vaccines, both Pfizer and Moderna are quite similar.
While other vaccine producers have vowed since the pandemic not to benefit from their jabs, Pfizer has taken a different approach. Treating it as a business opportunity does not want any partner to share the huge profits, under its vaccine program Service Warp Pace, the corporation turned down research funds from the US government and used about $2 billion of its own resources to create the Covid-19 vaccine for Germany’s BioNTech instead. But as economists say ‘there is no such thing as free lunch in this world’.
As reported by The Guardian: Pfizer and BioNTech could make $13bn from coronavirus vaccine
On the other hand, the rival US drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, along with AstraZeneca, which is developing a coronavirus vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, have both pledged to make their vaccines available on a not-for-profit basis during this pandemic. AstraZeneca, which is charging governments $3 to $5 a dose.
The world has at least two, and possibly three, Covid-19 vaccines ready to be distributed before the end of the year. In several months, millions of people will likely have received at least the first dose of a vaccine made by Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca.
Like other vaccines, it is hard to say the long-term side effects of the vaccine produced by these companies as the trials are based on a couple of months’ data. Public opinion of several countries has shown this concern about possible side effects of the products. Moreover, the rich countries have already booked the initial lots of this vaccine (see my article on this). The developed countries seem to be planning to regain their economies by the rollout of vaccines to more than 200 nations. It is also predicted that the rifts between nations will also be a hurdle for the provisioning of vaccines to the rival nations. It won’t seem to be a simple transaction amount the vaccine producing nations and the rest of the world. If the vaccine-producing countries really have that much concern for the rest of the nations, then why wouldn’t they provide the facility to other nations to replicate the same in-house?
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Also see my Article in Urdu Language on Richest countries already bought 80% COVID-19 vaccine-in Urdu