Covid vaccine profits mint 9 new pharma billionaires

Topping the list of new billionaires are Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel and Ugur Sahin, the CEO of BioNTech , which has produced a vaccine with Pfizer . Both CEOs are now worth around $4 billion, according to an analysis by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a campaign group that includes Oxfam, UNAIDS, Global Justice Now and Amnesty International. The company’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine was approved for use in China in February. The nine new billionaires are worth a combined $19.3 billion, enough to fully vaccinate some 780 million people in low-income countries, campaigners said.

US President Joe Biden has backed the move, which supporters say will help expand the global supply and narrow the vaccination gap between rich and poor countries. Opponents, such as Germany, have argued that protecting intellectual property is vital to innovation and say that removing patents won’t meaningfully increase supply due to limited production capacity and insufficient vaccine components. According to the World Health Organization, 87% of vaccine doses have gone to high- or upper middle-income countries, while low income countries have received just 0.2%. In a paper published Friday, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said that vaccinating 60% of the global population by mid-2022 would cost just $50 billion.

Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, said during the health summit on Friday that the company will provide 2 billion doses of its vaccine to low- and middle-income countries over the next 18 months. Pfizer expects its sales of the vaccine to total about $26 billion by the end of this year, with a profit margin approaching 30%. Bourla has defended the decision to profit from the vaccine, saying his company assumed all the risk to develop it and invested as much as $2 billion in research and development.

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Source: Hanna Ziady | CNN Business

Categories: CNN

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