78% of Moderna vaccine doses already sold to rich countries

Monday, 16 November, 2020
  • Just 12% of global population stand to receive majority of doses

  • Vaccine has received billions in public funding

The vast majority of pharma company Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine has already been bought by the richest governments in the world, Global Justice Now warns today. 780 million doses have already been sold to rich governments, 78% of the 1 billion doses Moderna says it has the capacity to produce by the end of next year.(1)

Big purchases include the USA with 100 million doses but options to buy another 500 million - an amount thought likely to make the company $8 billion.(2) The EU has 80 million doses and an option for a further 80 million. Yet the countries that have secured advanced supplies of the Moderna vaccine represent just 12% of the global population, campaigners warn.

Moderna has promised not to enforce its patents during the course of the pandemic, though it’s uncertain how it will define that period. Campaigners also point out that a vaccine produced with nearly $2.5 billion of public money should be in the public sphere.(3) The World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 Technology Access Pool could facilitate the sharing of this vaccine to all countries.(4)

Moderna ran into controversy in May when it released a very partial set of positive results to the media. Hours after press releasing their claims about positive trial results, Moderna sold 17.6 million shares to the public, raising $1.3 billion. Two Moderna executives sold off nearly $30 million in shares while days later, Moderna's leading shareholder -- a venture capital firm called Flagship Pioneering founded by Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna -- sold 1 million shares, earning $69.5 million. Moderna's share value sank as the week went on. A former US Securities and Exchange Commission official described this as "highly problematic" and worthy of investigation.(5)

Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now said:
“We welcome any good news when it comes to a coronavirus breakthrough, but sadly most of the world cannot celebrate today. Moderna’s is predicted to be the most expensive potential vaccine on the market, at around $35 a dose, even though it has been made with vast public support. The US government has spent over $1 billion in direct support alone. What’s more, well over 78% of what Moderna is likely to produce has already been sold to very wealthy countries.

“We’re also concerned that Moderna’s interest in releasing this data could be more about boosting stock price than giving the public a clear picture of this medicine’s usefulness. Earlier this year Moderna made another very incomplete media release which saw a surge in stock price which Moderna and some of its senior executives were accused of cashing in on.

“At the end of the day these vaccines are a big part of our route out of this crisis. We appreciate that Moderna has said it won’t enforce patents as long the pandemic continues, but this alone is not sufficient to ensure this vaccine benefits humanity. This is truly a taxpayer funded vaccine and should be placed in the public sphere through the World Health Organisation so the whole world can benefit.”

Notes

1. For full calculations see https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PFIxjn2sc-ZTuSR1tU9Ve8WEXqWQKSIK/view?usp=sharing  

2. Moderna lands US COVID-19 vaccine contract worth up to $8bn, https://www.biopharma-reporter.com/Article/2020/08/13/Moderna-lands-US-COVID-19-vaccine-contract-worth-up-to-8bn 

3. MSF: Governments must demand pharma make all COVID-19 vaccine licensing deals public, https://msfaccess.org/msf-governments-must-demand-pharma-make-all-covid-19-vaccine-licensing-deals-publi

4. WHO COVID-19 technology access pool, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/global-research-on-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/covid-19-technology-access-pool 

5. Moderna's coronavirus vaccine announcement set off a frenzy on Wall Street. Now some are calling for an investigation, https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/01/business/moderna-vaccine-stock-sales-invs/index.html 


Photo: NurPhoto/Getty Images

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