Pfizer expects the price of its COVID-19 vaccine to roughly quadruple to between $110 and $130 per dose once the U.S. government procurement program ends early next year, a company official said.
Angela Lukin said during a meeting with investors on Thursday that the company is still in talks with insurers, but they are confident the price will guarantee fair access and reimbursement. The federal government currently pays about $30 per dose and then distributes the vaccine to the public for free.
Pfizer signed a $3.2 billion deal with the Biden administration in June for 105 million doses.
“We are confident that the US price of the COVID-19 vaccine reflects its overall cost-effectiveness and ensures that the price is not a barrier to patient access,” said Lukin.
Lukin said Pfizer is working on making a single-dose injection, and the higher cost reflects that, as does the cost of distribution.
She said the manufacturer was operating in uncharted territory during the emergency phase of the pandemic, but “we will now enter our sweet spot of the traditional commercial market.”
Once the public health emergency ends and the federal stock of vaccines runs out, Lukin said she still expects that any American with private insurance or government insurance eligible for vaccination will have no out-of-pocket costs.
Still, it’s not clear how the millions of uninsured people in the country will access the vaccine. Once the federal supply runs out, private insurers will have to pay for the doses themselves, which could increase premiums.
Pfizer’s contract with the US government runs until the end of the year. Federal health officials have said they anticipate moving COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments to the commercial market sometime next year.
Lukin said she does not expect the purchase of the vaccines to be transferred to the private sector “at the earliest” in the first quarter of 2023.
Pfizer said it expects the market for COVID-19 vaccines to be about the same size as the market for adult flu shots on an annual basis.
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