Crisis on the horizon? Nothing limits virus vaccine makers from charging exorbitant fees

vaccine prices
Credit: Getty Images

[A] Covid-19 vaccine will have an actual price tag. And given the prevailing business-centric model of American drug pricing, it could well be budget breaking, perhaps making it unavailable to many.

[D]rug development is one of the world’s most lucrative businesses, ownership of drug patents is disputed in endless court battles, and monopoly power often lets manufacturers set any price, no matter how extraordinary. A new cancer treatment can cost a half-million dollars and old staples like insulin have risen manifold in price to thousands of dollars annually.

And the American government has no effective way to fight back.

If a Covid-19 vaccine yields a price of, say, $500 a course, vaccinating the entire population would bring a company over $150 billion, almost all of it profit.

Related article:  5 percent of COVID-19 survivors have super strength ‘neutralizing antibodies’ crucial for developing a vaccine

That’s why a bipartisan coalition in the House recently proposed two new bills to prevent “price gouging” for “taxpayer funded Covid-19 drugs” to ensure affordable pricing.

The exact mechanisms for enacting the provisions therein — such as requiring manufacturers to reveal their actual development costs — remain unclear.

Drug companies deserve a reasonable profit for taking on this urgent task of creating a Covid-19 vaccine. But we deserve a return, too.

So before these invaluable vaccines hit the market, we should talk about an actual price. Otherwise we will be stuck paying dearly for shots that the rest of the world will get for much less.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend