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MPs write to Covid vaccine companies to demand costs will not rise

A CROSS-PARTY group of MPs has written to pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna to urge that the cost of the lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine does not rise in Britain.

It comes amid reports that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will go up by 400 per cent in the US.

The MPs, who include Green MP Caroline Lucas and SNP MP Philippa Whitford, wrote to the firms today, ahead of their quarterly profit returns.

“With the NHS already under significant pressure and the cost of medicines increasing year on year, we are extremely concerned about the multiple impacts of a possible price hike,” the letter said.

It highlights that with Pfizer’s vaccine estimated to cost £4.98 to produce, the firm is receiving a markup of 340 per cent after charging the NHS £18 per dose for the first 100 million bought. The cost then increased to £22 for the next 89m.  

For Moderna, the profit margin is higher at 1,100 per cent.

Global Justice Now commented that Pfizer has revenues higher than the gross domestic product of 133 countries and is the first pharma company ever to make £81 billion in a year. 

“But not content with doubling its revenues with a pandemic windfall, they are now still moving to aggressively hike the price of Covid-19 booster doses, putting even more pressure on already struggling public health systems,” a spokesperson told the Star.

“We need UK politicians and the government to be bold and break with the monopoly patent model — just as this group of MPs has done today — which fails people everywhere.

“It’s time to put people’s lives above corporate profit.”

Keep Our NHS Public co-chairman Dr Tony O’Sullivan said that hiking vaccine prices is an “overt attempt to turn NHS funding into corporate profit. 

He said: “Profiteering from vaccines is a particularly naked and lethal example of corporate greed.  

“It is disgraceful, and on a global scale during this pandemic has already contributed massively to health inequality and avoidable mass deaths from Covid.”

Dr O’Sullivan also condemned Westminster for blocking proposals to suspend patent rules to allow the global South access to vaccines and for buying three times the volume needed while most of the world remains unvaccinated.

He said that “neither the public’s health nor the NHS are safe” in the government’s hands.

Pfizer and Moderna were approached for comment.

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