MSF: Moderna must share all information about its COVID-19 vaccine and sell it at-cost

Democratic Republic of Congo 2019 © Samuel Sieber/MSF

NEW YORK/GENEVA, NOVEMBER 16, 2020—Moderna’s announcement today suggesting that its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5 percent effective is a promising step. In addition to sharing the clinical trial data and other information that would allow the public to determine a fair price, Moderna should follow through on its previous commitment to not enforce its patents and share all intellectual property on a potential COVID-19 vaccine, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Sharing the necessary technology, data, and know-how with other manufacturers would help scale up production of this potentially lifesaving vaccine once it hits the market.

Dana Gill, US policy advisor with MSF’s Access Campaign, said today:

“The world is eagerly awaiting positive results of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in hopes of having a tool that will help get this pandemic under control, yet their eventual approval means very little if they’re not distributed equitably to people all over the world at a fully transparent, at-cost price.

“The public’s ability to assess an affordable price requires transparency. Moderna must commit to publishing a detailed breakdown of the price, as well as all of the costs associated with developing its candidate vaccine. If Moderna would open its books, the public could see for itself if the prices being charged are actually fair and affordable.

“Bear in mind that the research and development and manufacturing of Moderna’s vaccine have been almost entirely offset by public contributions, with nearly $2.5 billion from the US government. Yet, without transparency taxpayers cannot hold Moderna to account during these unprecedented times. Moderna should be selling this vaccine at-cost, and not seek to profiteer from a vaccine that the public has financed.

“An estimated nearly 80 percent of the projected initial doses of Moderna’s vaccine are already tied up in non-transparent bilateral deals with high-income countries including the US, leaving an insufficient amount for developing countries and crisis-affected humanitarian settings, while supply remains scarce.

“Keeping future vaccines as a luxury for the wealthy few isn’t how we’re going to beat this virus, nor how we’re going to save lives. If proven safe and effective, Moderna—and all pharmaceutical corporations—should distribute initial vaccine supplies equitably across the world according to the public health criteria outlined by the World Health Organization.”