Moderna CEO defends $130 price tag for COVID vaccine in US Senate By Reuters

© Reuters. File photo of workers dispatching boxes full of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Mississippi, USA.

March 22 (Reuters) – The CEO of Moderna Inc. on Wednesday defended the company’s plan to quadruple the price of its COVID-19 vaccine, telling U.S. lawmakers that it will no longer count on the economies of scale of public procurement when the injections go to the private market.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel was called to testify after the company’s announcement that it planned to increase the price of the vaccine to about $130 per dose, drawing the ire of lawmakers, especially Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders. , who chairs the influential Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Commission and has long called for lower prices for American drugs.

Bancel explained that the company will have to supply single-dose vials or pre-filled syringes of its COVID vaccine when it enters the commercial market, compared to filling 10-dose vials for public procurement.

“On top of all this, we expect a 90% reduction in demand,” Bancel said. “As you can see, we are losing economies of scale.”

Sanders wrote to Bancel in January calling on Moderna to stop the planned US price gouging for the COVID vaccine, saying the price gouging could make it unaffordable for millions of Americans, and pointing to federal financial assistance provided for vaccine development. .

(Reporting by Sriparna Roy and Leroy Leo in Bengaluru and Patrick Wingrove in New York; Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)

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