KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 17): Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are making combined profits of US$65,000 (about RM271,213) every minute from their highly successful Covid-19 vaccines while the world’s poorest countries remain largely unvaccinated, according to a new analysis.
AFP on Tuesday (Nov 16) cited the People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA), a coalition campaigning for wider access to Covid-19 vaccines, medical research advances and health news portal Medical Xpress as saying that the trio will make pre-tax profits of US$34 billion this year among them, which work out to over US$1,000 a second, US$65,000 a minute or US$93.5 million a day.
PVA is a movement of health and humanitarian organisations, past and present world leaders, health experts, faith leaders and economists urging safe and effective development of vaccines to be made available for all people, in all countries and free of charge.
AFP quoted Maaza Seyoum of the African Alliance and PVA Africa as saying: “It is obscene that just a few companies are making millions of dollars in profit every single hour, while just 2% of people in low-income countries have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna have used their monopolies to prioritise the most profitable contracts with the richest governments, leaving low-income countries out in the cold,” said Seyoum.
PVA claims that Pfizer and BioNTech have delivered less than 1% of their total supplies to low-income countries, while Moderna has delivered just 0.2%.
Currently, 98% of people in low-income countries have not been fully vaccinated.
The three companies’ actions are in contrast to AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, which have provided their vaccines on a not-for-profit basis, though both have announced that they foresee ending this arrangement in future as the pandemic winds down.
PVA said that despite receiving public funding of more than US$8 billion, Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna had refused calls to transfer vaccine technology to producers in low- and middle-income countries via the World Health Organization (WHO), “a move that could increase global supply, drive down prices and save millions of lives”.
“In Moderna’s case, this is despite explicit pressure from the White House and requests from the WHO that the company collaborate in and help accelerate its plan to replicate the Moderna vaccine for wider production at its mRNA hub in South Africa,” said PVA.
PVA, whose 80 members include the African Alliance, Global Justice Now, Oxfam and UNAIDS, is calling for pharmaceutical corporations to immediately suspend intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines by agreeing to a proposed waiver of the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Agreement.
More than 100 nations, including the US, back that move, but it is being blocked by rich countries including the UK and Germany.
Source: Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna making US$1,000 profit every second, says report | The Edge Markets