As of: 02/20/2021 5:28 p.m.
BioNTech has resisted reports that it initially offered its vaccine to the EU at a high price. Ed, WDR and SZ had revealed that the company originally charged EUR 54.08 per dose.
By Markus Grill and Georg Mascolo,
NDR / WDR
Biontech founder Uğur Şahin defended himself against the impression in the “Bild” newspaper that his company had initially offered the European Union the corona vaccine at a very high price. Şahin said, “It was early, mid-June, and it was our first price calculation with a large number of unknowns.”
In fact, the offer classified as “confidential” dates from June 24th, is several pages strong and explains the price in detail. It was submitted to the EU by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer on behalf of BioNTech and Pfizer. Specifically, Pfizer / BioNTech are offering the EU 500 million vaccine doses at a price of 54.08 euros each.
Literally the offer reads: “Based on our understanding of the estimated number of doses the Commission plans to reserve (500 million), the price is 54.08 euros per dose, which is the highest percentage discount any one yet advanced economics in the world. ” The phrase also suggests that corporate pricing had been going on for some time. Finally, advance payments of 3.50 euros per dose are mentioned, which are due immediately upon conclusion of the contract (“advance payment”).
Sahin now emphasizes in the “Bild” newspaper that at the time of the offer one could not have known “how exactly the production can be scaled” and also not “how the production processes and costs will be exactly”.
No response from BioNTech
Ed, WDR and “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (SZ) confronted BioNTech on Tuesday with the sales offer and asked, among other things, how the price of 54.08 euros per dose was explained. The company had not replied that this should have been an “initial price calculation”, nor that the production costs should have been unclear at the time. The company had merely announced: “ The price of the vaccine depends on various factors, such as whoever ordered, and is in a certain range for all countries with higher incomes. In countries with lower incomes, the price will be adjusted accordingly.” A request for a discussion about the high price offer to the EU went unanswered this week.
In fact, Pfizer / BioNTech even justified the price with various arguments in their letter to the EU. For example, that they “financed their research and development entirely themselves” and that the corona pandemic is causing enormous economic damage worldwide. “Adding the trillion-euro economic impact to a traditional cost-benefit model results in a price that would be unreasonable during a global pandemic,” the offer said. Only then does the required sum of 54.08 euros per vaccine dose follow.
15.50 euros for the EU, 16 euros for the USA
The “Bild” newspaper also quotes an anonymous source “from Federal Government circles” in its report, which allegedly said that it was clear to everyone that the offer from June was “a water level report”. The re is no proof of this and BioNTech / Pfizer had not presented it that way before.
How Ed, WDR and SZ reported, Pfizer and BioNTech reached an agreement with the EU Commission in the summer on a final price of 15.50 euros. The USA also ordered 100 million vaccine doses in July at a price of 19.50 US dollars (16 euros).