Sen. Bernie Sanders urged Moderna on Tuesday not to quadruple the price of its COVID-19 vaccine once the shots are distributed on the commercial market.
In a letter to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, Sanders called the price hike “outrageous”. The independent senator from Vermont and incoming chair of the Senate health committee said such a steep price hike would make shots unavailable to millions of uninsured Americans, potentially putting their lives at risk as COVID continues to spread .
Sanders, who has become an influential national figure following his two failed bids to win the Democratic presidential nomination, has repeatedly denounced the pharmaceutical industry for high drug prices in the US. The powerful Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Sanders said raising vaccine prices would also negatively impact the budgets of Medicaid and Medicare, which would continue to cover vaccines at no cost to the programs’ beneficiaries. Sanders wrote that private health insurance premiums would also increase as a result of the increase in vaccine prices.
Sanders wrote to Bancel, “Your decision will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.”
bansel told The Wall Street Journal on Monday Moderna is looking at a price of $110 to $130 per Covid vaccine dose when the shots are sold on the commercial market. The federal government, which handled the purchase and distribution of vaccines during the emergency phase of the pandemic, currently pays about $26 per vaccine dose.
Sanders wrote to Bancel, “I find your decision particularly objectionable because the vaccine was jointly developed in partnership with scientists at the National Institutes of Health, a US government agency funded by US taxpayers.”
Bancel told the Journal that he thought the price was commensurate with the value of the vaccine. Pfizer is also considering Increases the price of its Covid vaccine from $ 110 to $ 130 per dose,
Dr. Ashish Jha, head of the White House Covid Task Force, told the US Chamber of Commerce in August that the administration plans to take the vaccine to the commercial market sometime in 2023. With the cost depending on their health insurance plan.
During the pandemic, the federal government required all health care providers participating in the vaccination drive to provide vaccines to patients for free, regardless of their health insurance status.
Moderna’s Covid vaccine is the company’s only commercially available product. Boston Biotech has made a profit of $ 12.2 billion in 2021, the first year of the vaccination campaign, and $ 6.9 billion by September 2022.
CNBC reported in March that Bancel had sold Over $400 Million in Moderna Stock during the pandemic.