This week the European Union will conclude an agreement to buy 1.8 billion doses of the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, marking a radical change of strategy from the beginning of the vaccination campaign, when EU countries had bet on AstraZeneca's vaccine.
In recent months, the mRNA vaccine has emerged as the most reliable alternative to the one produced by the anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company, against which the EU decided to act legally after repeated delays in deliveries that greatly slowed vaccinations in the first part of the year.
The upcoming agreement with Pfizer will include an order by 900 million doses of up to 2023, with an option for another 900 million, (compared to 300 million doses so far sold the United States is pushing the European Commission to anticipate from September to July, with the objective to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population in Europe.
Despite the medium-term commitment made in the agreement with the EU, Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies expect steep increases in vaccine prices in the coming years, which many experts and insiders believe will require annual recalls.
In March Pfizer's Chief Financial Officer, Frank D'amelio predicted that once the Pandemic Emergency has passed there will be new opportunities for the pharmaceutical company. Already in early February, D'amelio himself had stated in a call with investors that the company considers normal for a vaccine a price of 150-175 dollars, up to 9 times the price paid by the US government.
Despite the prices considered too low, the US House already believes that this year will get from the Vaccine revenues of 15 billion dollars, for an estimated profit of 4 billion dollars, making it one of the most profitable pharmaceutical products ever.
In recent weeks the executives of Pfizer and BioNTech have repeatedly reiterated that at least a third dose will be needed to have complete protection from Covid-19, the last among them Ugur Sahin. According to the founder of BioNTech, who made the vaccine produced by Pfizer, it will be necessary to administer the third dose 9 months after the second administration вЂњat most after 12 monthsвЂќ. Last week Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said a third dose of the vaccine will be needed 6 to 12 months after the second administration. He had previously also predicted that annual recalls will be neededвЂќ for many years", stating that the company is able to modify vaccines in response to new variants in 116 days.
According to D'amelio, the recalls present вЂњa significant opportunityвЂќ for our vaccine from the point of view of demand, from the point of view of prices, given the clinical profile of our vaccineвЂќ.
Previously, the EU agreed to pay Pfizer and BioNTech a price of 15.5 euros per dose for the first 200 million doses and further 100 million doses on which it was entitled to an option if ordered within a deadline provided for in the contract. Subsequently, the EU pledged to pay for the vaccine 17,5 euros per dose. The EU had also agreed to advance payment of 700 million euros in December for the first 200 million doses. Details of the new agreement with Pfizer are not known.
Last week The Extraordinary Commissioner for an emergency, general Francesco Paolo Figliuolo announced that in the second quarter of this year Italy will receive 6.8 million more doses from Pfizer, compared to the delivery of another 50 million doses to the EU. According to son, 670,000 more doses will be delivered in April, 2.15 million more doses in May, and over 4 million more doses in June. 66 percent of the more than 20 million doses delivered to Italy so far have been produced by Pfizer.