If you plan on getting boosted against COVID-19 this winter, then you might want to do it sooner rather than later. Pfizer’s COVID vaccine is going to cost more in the coming months as the pharmaceutical company announced it will nearly quadruple the price of a shot in 2023.
Once the U.S. government uses up the doses it’s already bought — expected to be sometime in the first few months of 2023 — Pfizer will up the price, charging as much as $130 for a single dose of the vaccine, which will replace the multidose under the name Comirnaty.
The price hike is about 100 times what it costs to actually manufacture the drug, and amounts to a 10,000% markup, according to estimates from international nonprofit Oxfam based on data from consumer advocacy Public Citizen and the Imperial College, London.
While insurance companies knew prices would rise after the existing supply of doses ran out, analysis from the Kaiser Family Fund shows they anticipated the new cost would be around $100. The pharmaceutical juggernaut has explained the move as necessary to keep revenues up as demand for the shots wanes.
The government has been covering the costs
The American government has covered the cost of vaccines distributed in the country since they were developed and started being distributed in late 2020. It bought more than 500 million doses from Pfizer, and paid between $20 and $30 each.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 265 million people, or 80% of the U.S. population, are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But fewer than 20 million have taken the latest booster, signaling that demand is dropping precipitously.
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And while the cost seems astronomical, Pfizer reportedly said that it expects people who have private health insurance or coverage through public programs like Medicare or Medicaid won’t have to pay out of pocket for their shots.
Fewer people getting boosted
Vaccine producers have been in a bit of a pickle. As demand for the vaccine has waned, investors’ concerns about a drop in earnings have been growing.
Analysts surveyed by Factset had said they expected the company’s sales to decline given the anticipated slowdown in vaccinations. And while the price hike will help the company cushion the blow of softening demand, the announced increase by Pfizer was higher than many people expected.
And it will likely have repercussions for other vaccine manufacturers, like Moderna.
Moderna’s shares are down 46% this year — but the company did see a 9% boost last week when news of Pfizer’s plans was released. Moderna, for its part, is also expected to raise the price of its vaccine to a more affordable $60, according to Barron’s.
And while this might be comforting news for investors, it’s not all that comforting for anyone who still needs a shot or a boost.
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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.
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