A politician tweeted a list showing how much the EU has agreed to pay for the leading vaccines, confirming rumors of Moderna’s sky-high price


State Secretary for Budget Eva De Bleeker arrives at a Kern meeting, a restricted ministers meeting in Brussels, Friday 06 November 2020. BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE (Photo by THIERRY ROGE/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)
Belgian State Secretary for Budget Eva De Bleeker seen in Brussels on November 6, 2020. THIERRY ROGE/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images
  • A Belgian politician on Friday tweeted a list showing how much the EU has agreed to pay major drugmakers for doses their vaccines.  

  • Eva De Bleeker, Belgium’s Budget State Secretary, was criticized for breaching confidentiality, and said it was “a mistake on the part of the communications team.”

  • De Bleeker deleted the tweet, but screenshots show that the cheapest to the EU is AstraZeneca’s, at $2.18 a dose, while the most expensive is Moderna’s, at $22.06 per dose.

  • “We wanted to offer full transparency, but we have been a bit too generous,” a spokesperson for De Bleeker told The Brussels Times.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A Belgian politician has revealed how much the EU will pay for doses of the major vaccines, validating predictions that Moderna’s vaccine would be the most expensive.

On Friday, Eva De Bleeker, Belgium’s Budget State Secretary, tweeted a list showing how much the EU was paying per dose for six of the leading treatments, as well as how many units the government had ordered.

De Bleeker quickly deleted the tweet, but not before local news outlets were able to publish screenshots.

De Bleeker was criticized for breaching confidentiality, and blamed the gaffe on “a mistake on the part of the communications team,” the Belgian news outlet HLN reported

Here’s the price list shared by De Bleeker:

  • Oxford University and AstraZeneca: $2.18 (1.78 euro)

  • Johnson & Johnson: $10.42 (8.50 euro)

  • Sanofi and Glaxo Smith Klein: $9.27 (7.56 euro)

  • Pfizer and BioNTech: $14.71 (12 euro)

  • CureVac: $12.26 (10 euro)

  • Moderna: $22.06 (18 euro)

Business Insider contacted the drugmakers for comment. Moderna said in August that it expected its vaccine would be the most expensive of those in development. 

De Bleeker tweeted the list amid a dispute with a right-leaning opposition party, who claimed the government hadn’t set aside sufficient funds to buy enough vaccines, The Brussels Times reported.

Belgium is purchasing 33.5 million vaccines at a cost of 279 million euros, the screenshot shared by De Bleeker shows.

“We wanted to offer full transparency, but we have been a bit too generous,” a spokesperson for De Bleeker told The Times. “Technically, those prices should not have been released, so we removed the tweet.”

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA, UNITED STATES - 2020/12/18: Closeup of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine in a medical syringe to be used to vaccinate front line health care workers at IU Health Bloomington. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Closeup of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine seen in December 2020. Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

On Friday, a spokesman for the European Commission said: “We can’t say anything about this case, everything about vaccines and prices are covered by confidentiality clauses, in the interests of society and also in the interests of negotiations ongoing,” according to the Guardian. 

The prices of the vaccines to the EU revealed by De Bleeker will differ from the cost paid by the likes of the US and Canada.

In some cases, the European price may be a reflection of how much funding the companies received from EU authorities. 

For example, the EU appears to be paying 24% less for shots of the Pfizer vaccine compared with the US, the Guardian reported, citing analysis from Bernstein Research. The EU contributed significant funding to BioNTech, who developed the vaccine for Pfizer. 

Similarly, the US is paying $4 a dose for the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca and developed in Oxford, UK, while the EU will pay $2.18 (€1.78,) Bernstein said.

Moderna’s vaccine, developed in Massachusetts, received $2.5 billion in funding from the White House and will cost 20% more in Europe, the Guardian said.

It costs $15 in the US, but $18 in Europe. 

 

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