Pfizer, Moderna Hike COVID-19 Vaccine Prices by as Much as 26% In Europe—Here’s Why

A medical worker holds a packaging of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during the vaccination of people in Kiev. Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pfizer and Moderna have the best COVID-19 vaccines on the market. But they are about to cost a lot more. The two vaccine makers have raised the prices of their mRNA-based coronavirus vaccines in their European Union supply contracts, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

Under the new contract, a shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will cost $23.15, up 26 percent from the previous $18.39. And the price of Moderna shots will go up from $22.50 to $25.50, a 13 percent increase. However, it’s lower than the previously agreed $28.50 because the order size had grown, the Financial Times reported, citing an official close to the matter.

Pfizer said the price jump was a result of “tiered pricing,” a company spokesperson told Fierce Pharma, citing comments Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla made in May at the European Commission’s Global Health Pre-Summit.

According to Pfizer’s tiered pricing structure, wealthy countries pay “about the cost of a takeaway meal for each dose” while middle-income countries pay roughly half that price, Bourla said in May, adding that lower-income countries will receive Pfizer vaccines at cost.

“We took this approach because we believe that equity doesn’t mean we give everyone the same,” Bourla said.

Moderna hasn’t commented about its price hike in Europe.

The U.S. government’s initial supply contract priced the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at $20 per dose and the Moderna shot at $15.

While access to COVID-19 vaccines is a challenge in many hard-hit countries, vaccine supply doesn’t seem to be an issue in developed nations.

The European Commission said last week the EU is on track to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its adult population by the end of September.

The EU received 106 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines made by four drugmakers in the first quarter. It expects to receive 413 million shots in the second quarter, 529 million in the third, and another 452 million in the fourth, making the total supply of 2021 about 1.5 billion doses, enough to give every EU resident three shots.

The EU’s COVID-19 vaccines are supplied by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. With the exception of AstraZeneca, all other drugmakers are based in the U.S.

The European Commission has also signed contracts with Germany’s CureVac and French drugmaker Sanofi to purchase hundreds of millions of doses. But these two companies are struggling to get their vaccines past the development stage and get them approved by EU regulators.