Pfizer, BioNTech & Moderna Make RM4,000 Profit Per Second While Poorer Nations Are Mostly Unvaccinated

(source: Straits Times / Reuters)

According to NST, new figures from the People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA) reveal that the companies behind two of the most successful Covid vaccines – Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna – are making combined profits of US$65,000 (about RM271,213) every minute.

PVA said that the trio will make pre-tax profits of US$34 billion this year – which work out to over US$1,000 (around RM4,000) a second. Unfortunately, these companies have sold the majority of doses to rich countries, leaving low-income countries out in the cold.

Pfizer and BioNTech have delivered less than 1% of their total vaccine supplies to low-income countries, while Moderna has delivered just 0.2%. Meanwhile, 98% of people in low-income countries have not been fully vaccinated.

The figures based on the latest company reports are released as CEOs from the pharmaceutical industry meet for the annual STAT summit from 16 t0 18 November.

(source: UNAIDS.org)

“It is obscene that just a few companies are making millions of dollars in profit every single hour, while just two per cent of people in low-income countries have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus,” Maaza Seyoum of the African Alliance and PVA Africa said.

“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,” he urged.

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 Organisation (WHO), “a move that could increase global supply, drive down prices and save millions of lives”.

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 the future as the pandemic winds down.

In case you didn’t know, the PVA has 80 members including the African Alliance, Global Justice Now, Oxfam, and UNAIDS.

They are calling for the pharmaceutical corporations to immediately suspend intellectual property rights for COVID vaccines, tests, treatments, and other medical tools by agreeing to the proposed waiver of the TRIPS Agreement at the World Trade Organisation.

They are also calling on governments to use all their legal and policy tools to demand that pharmaceutical companies share COVID-19 data, know-how, and technology with the WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool and South Africa mRNA Technology Transfer Hub.

More than 100 nations, including the US, back that move, but it is being blocked by rich countries including the UK and Germany.