Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, Inc., is set to testify before a senate panel led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on March 22 at 10 am EST.
Sanders said that Bancel agreed to appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in a hearing to address Moderna’s consideration of raising the price of Spikevax®, its COVID-19 vaccine, from about $16 (under initial federal supply contract) to between $110 and $130 per dose. In December 2022, Pfizer too announced a price hike for its COVID-19 vaccine, as its contract with the US government is set to end this year.
In a letter to Bancel, Sanders called the decision to increase the price “offensive” and accused Bancel and Moderna’s top officials of profiteering from the vaccine while the pandemic claimed millions of lives across the world.
“The Moderna vaccine was codeveloped between Moderna and [the National Institutes of Health] and received billions of dollars in assistance, guaranteed sales,” said Sanders in a recent interview, “And you know what’s happened in the last couple of years: The CEO of Moderna is now worth $6 billion. All their top executives are worth billions. And now they are threatening to quadruple prices. This is a company that was highly supported by the taxpayers of this country. And that’s one example of many.”
Postpandemic surveys found that the public perception of companies like Moderna and Pfizer has dropped compared to the 2022 rankings. As the virulence of SARS-CoV-2 and fears of a “tripledemic” seem to fade, it seems Big Pharma’s reputation is returning to “normal.”