Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer cash in on taxpayer investments


Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer reap astronomical and unreasonable profits from their monopolies on COVID mRNA vaccines – up to a 69% profit margin in the case of Moderna and BioNTech – while Moderna and Pfizer also pay little tax , activists from the People’s Vaccine Alliance said today.

Through their patent monopolies for effective coronavirus vaccines, the development of which has been supported by $ 100 billion in public funding from taxpayers in the United States, Germany and other countries, the three companies have made more than $ 26 billion. dollars in revenue in the first half of the year, at least two-thirds of pure profit in the case of Moderna and BioNTech. The Alliance also believes that the three companies are charging too much, with vaccine prices going up to $ 41 billion above the estimated cost of production.

“Big Pharma’s business model – receiving billions in public investment, charging sky-high prices for life-saving drugs, paying few taxes – is gold dust to wealthy investors and corporate executives, but devastating to global public health, ”said Robbie Silverman, private sector, Oxfam America. Head of recruitment. “Instead of partnering with governments and other qualified manufacturers to make sure we have enough doses of vaccine for everyone, these drug companies prioritize their own profits by enforcing their monopolies and selling To the best offer. Enough is enough, we need to start putting people before profits.

Even as large areas of the world experience rapid increases in COVID cases and deaths, Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna have sold over 90% of their vaccines to wealthy countries, charging up to 24 times the potential cost of production, according to an Alliance analysis based on the work of MRNA scientists at Imperial College. Analysis of production techniques for the main mRNA-type vaccines produced by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, which were only developed with public funding to the tune of $ 8.3 billion, suggests that these vaccines could be manufactured. for as little as $ 1.20 a dose.

Moreover, despite having benefited from 8.3 billion dollars of public investment in the development of their vaccines, American companies have not paid their fair share of taxes. In the first half of 2021, Moderna paid a US tax rate of 7% and Pfizer a 15% tax rate, well below the US statutory rate of 21%. The low tax rates paid by these American corporations indicate a failing and dysfunctional tax system that allows corporations earning billions of dollars to pay a significantly lower tax rate than working families in the United States. BioNTech, a German startup that produced the recipe for the Pfizer vaccine, paid a significantly higher tax rate of 31% in Germany while making a profit margin of 77%.

“More than 200 million people have been infected during this pandemic, more than 4.5 million people have died and at least nine new billionaires have been stricken thanks to COVID,” said Dinah Fuentesfina, campaign manager at ActionAid International. “It really is the inequality virus. We are creating vaccine billionaires but failing to immunize the billions of people who desperately need it. Given the vast public investment in the development of these vaccines and the needs of overwhelming public health across the globe, these life-saving vaccines must be global public goods. ”

As UNGA and a virtual COVID summit planned by President Biden approach, activists are mobilizing across the world, including in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, South Africa. South and India, to demand the lifting of monopolies on vaccines and immediate sharing of vaccine revenues to save lives. They were joined by more than 140 former leaders and Nobel laureates, including Francois Hollande, Helen Clarke and Gordon Brown, who wrote an open letter to German candidates ahead of the September 26 national election calling on them to overthrow the German opposition. waiving patents and supporting the immediate transfer of vaccine technology to manufacturers in developing countries.

Based on recently released second quarter financial data, the People’s Vaccine Alliance estimates that Moderna generated more than $ 6 billion in revenue this year, including $ 4.3 billion in profit, an astronomical profit margin of 69% on his vaccines. Moderna projects total vaccine sales of $ 20 billion in 2021. At the same time, Moderna pays single-digit tax rates – it only paid $ 322 million in taxes in 2021 despite billions of dollars. profits.

Since Moderna and BioNTech do not have other significant commercial products other than COVID-19 vaccines, the total profit margins are almost exclusively the result of vaccines. Although Pfizer is not a start-up and sells several products, the COVID vaccine has also been a huge boon for Pfizer.

The COVID vaccine now represents more than a third of Pfizer’s global revenue base. Pfizer sold more than $ 11 billion worth of vaccines in the first half of this year. Pfizer is now forecasting $ 33.5 billion in total vaccine sales for 2021, making the vaccine one of the best-selling pharmaceuticals this year and potentially in the history of the pharmaceutical industry. Pfizer has said its profit margins on vaccines are less than 30 percent, but because Pfizer only provides financial information for vaccine revenue, not expenses, it is not possible to independently verify its margins. beneficiaries. It only sold 0.5% of its vaccine doses to the poorest countries.

“The hoarding of vaccines by rich countries and the profits of rich pharmaceutical companies when millions of people around the world are denied protection are not only morally wrong, but also short-sighted and dangerous,” said Silverman. “As the Delta variant clearly demonstrates, if COVID is not controlled in other parts of the world, a mutation can lead to widespread transmission of the virus and serious illness or death among those who are not vaccinated. Future variations could send us back to square one. To truly bring this virus under control, we need to end the monopolies on vaccines, share the recipe, increase production globally, and vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible. “

Administering additional boosters in wealthy countries like the US, UK and other countries, while poor countries languish far behind, will likely further increase the benefits and further increase the risk of vaccine-resistant variants. .

“Rich countries buying more doses to give third injections to their residents while most countries struggle to provide the first doses to their doctors and nurses illustrates the fundamental inequality that has prevailed in our response to COVID until now, ”said Maaza Seyoum of the African Alliance. and the Popular Alliance for Vaccines in Africa. “This uneven status quo is causing needless deaths around the world and producing new variants that threaten public health everywhere, all to fatten the portfolios of Big Pharma executives and corporate investors.”

“These companies have maximized their income and profits by preventing others from producing the vaccines and minimizing the taxes they pay,” Silverman concluded. “We need a popular vaccine, which means sharing the vaccine recipe, leveraging the world’s full manufacturing capacity, and producing enough doses for everyone. No one will be safe until everyone is safe. “

/ Public distribution. This material is from the original organization and may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length.

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