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Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine Could Become Most Lucrative Drug in the World

Pfizer’s vaccine is already the second-highest revenue-generating drug in the world. Once the pandemic ends, the vaccine maker plans to hike prices.

Pfizer’s COVID vaccine is already the second-highest revenue-generating drug in the world — but the company plans to turn the vaccine into an even bigger cash cow once the pandemic ends, according to news reports.

Citing comments made by Pfizer CFO Frank D’Amelio, Forbes and FiercePharma reported that the company “is going to get more on price” once the pandemic wanes and “we are no longer in a pandemic pricing environment,” D’Amelio said.

The vaccine maker expects 2021 sales of about $15 billion based on current contracts for its COVID vaccine, but that number could double as Pfizer says it can potentially deliver 2 billion doses this year, according to The Guardian.

One analyst speculated that Pfizer could be targeting a price 3 to 4 times higher than the $19.50 the company currently charges the U.S. government — or even up to $156 per dose.

Pfizer based the vaccines’ current price on the need for governments to secure doses and get the virus under control. The company splits the profits 50-50 with German partner, BioNTech.

Under Operation Warp Speed, Pfizer agreed to supply the U.S. government with 100 million doses of its vaccine for $1.95 billion, so Americans can receive the vaccine for free.

Pfizer’s initial contract included an option for the government to buy up to 500 million more doses at $19.50 per dose. That’s well below the $150 or $175 per dose the drugmaker typically pulls in for a vaccine, D’Amelio said during the February earnings call.

In comparison, the Moderna vaccine is priced at $15 per dose, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is $10 and AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine is $4 per dose, reported Fierce Pharma.

Pfizer executives unveiled the company’s $15 billion sales estimate as part of the company’s 2021 guidance, based on doses set to be delivered in 2021 under existing contracts.

To put $15 billion into perspective, Pfizer also markets the bestselling vaccine outside of COVID –– pneumococcal shot Prevnar 13. In 2020, Prevnar 13 revenues were $5.85 billion. Pfizer’s entire vaccine franchise pulled in $6.56 billion in 2020, reported Fierce Pharma.

As initial demand for its COVID vaccine subsides, the company could make significant profits by charging higher prices and implementing routine booster doses for new variants of the virus, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told analysts, big banks and investors during the February earnings call.