While this is a promising step, a press release by Moderna is not sufficient to draw concrete conclusions. Full transparency of the clinical trial data and analysis is needed before conclusions on the vaccine’s efficacy and utility can be made.
Understanding that supply shortages are anticipated, pharmaceutical corporations should not create additional artificial barriers to scaling up supply by barring other competent manufacturers from making their products, should the vaccines prove safe and effective. In addition to following through on its previous commitment to not enforce its patents, Moderna must share all intellectual property, including the necessary technology, data and know-how, so that other manufacturers can scale up production of these potentially lifesaving vaccines.
Quote from Dana Gill, US Policy Advisor, MSF Access Campaign:
“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 will open its books, the public can 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 US$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 predominantly financed.
An estimated nearly 80% 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 WHO.”
For interviews, please contact Elise Erickson at Elise.ERICKSON@geneva.msf.org or +41 79 886 4601.