Parts of this Covid Vaccine Story came via the Daily Beast;
Just hours after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) swore to question Moderna’s chief executive in a Senate hearing next month about plans to quadruple the price of its COVID-19 vaccine, the company abruptly reversed course, announcing in a statement that the vaccine would remain free to all consumers “regardless of their ability to pay.”
The pharmaceutical giant was widely denounced last month in the wake of reports it was considering jacking up the price of its jabs more than 400 percent–to $130 per dose. The Biden administration also unveiled the expected end of a public health emergency in May, which would have left uninsured Americans paying out of pocket.
In an interview with The Washington Post published around noon on Wednesday, Sanders said he had Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel in his sights. Sanders . . .
“We’re going to ask them, ‘Hey, you made billions of dollars in profit on a vaccine that was developed because of taxpayer support . . . you’ve become a multibillionaire, and you think it’s appropriate to cost the federal government even more money by quadrupling prices?’ And I hope, I really do hope, these people will reconsider this outrageous decision and decide not to raise prices for the vaccine.”
But there is more to this story than what is being revealed in this rendition about the Moderna vaccine.
Moderna reported it paid or will pay $400 million to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the rights to use publicly funded technology. The publicly funded technology developed by the NIH was key to the success of the NIH-Moderna COVID vaccine.
Lets step back again on more of this story.
Most of the leading COVID-19 vaccine developed including the Pfizer/BioNTech experimental vaccine use spike protein technology. A technology developed by the U.S. government. It would seem reasonable such a development gives taxpayers a say in the price and supply of a future vaccine (Public Citizen). Pfizer’s claims it has not accepted federal investments in its research.
Paraphrasing here . . . In 2016, National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and academic researchers found a new way of freezing coronavirus spike proteins in the right shape. The modified protein was producing a stronger immune response in mice than the naturally occurring protein for an earlier coronavirus. and here also . . .
The resulting discovery led to most of the successful first-generation COVID-19 vaccine candidates from Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax using publicly developed technology. The NIH protein early on showed superiority in clinical trials with fewer side effects. The availability of a stabilized spike protein also appears to have accelerated preclinical studies.
The paraphrasing I am engaging in shoots a hole in Pfizer’s Senior Vice President Kathrin Jansen has claiming,
“We have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone.”
Well maybe not the money, we just
stole are using the technology.
Moderna has forked over $400 million to the National Institutes of Health on sales of $36 billion selling during the height of the pandemic. The company also received $10 billion in funding to help develop and test the vaccine. Moderna wanted to charge $130 per shot after the pandemic and backed down after Senator Sanders challenged them. I think they pinched us for enough.
One last item . . . Moderna also claims its scientists came up with the sequence independently. NIH says its researchers came up with it and gave it to the company. The agency asked Moderna to list three NIH researchers as co-inventors on the filed patent. Moderna excluded them, as reported by Nature in 2021.
Moderna-NIH Agreement on Publicly-Funded Discovery Will Be Dwarfed by Moderna’s Price Spike, Public Citizen,
As COVID vaccine patent dispute drags on, Moderna forks over $400M to NIH, Ars Technica, Beth Mole.
Moderna 400% Price Hike Goes Poof! After Bernie Threatens Hearing, Crooks and Liars, Susie Madrak.