Success of COVID-19 Vaccines Reveals Killer Flaws in Big Pharma’s Vaccine Market


Publish Date:
March 26, 2021
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“The pandemic has illustrated both political and market failures in vaccine development,”

“Current COVID-19 vaccine prices are rewarding developers with only a fraction of their social value.”

“private firms generally aren’t compensated for R&D spending related to risks that don’t emerge,”

“rewards for biomedical innovations generally don’t account for benefits or costs beyond the specific patient,”

“If we had started building manufacturing capacity for all of the candidates earlier than we did, shortages would not be as much of a problem as they are now,”

“governments don’t invest enough in pandemic preparedness for the same kind of reasons that they don’t invest enough in infrastructure maintenance or natural disaster readiness,”

“Payoffs from these investments are often longer than electoral cycles, and voters don’t pay much attention to disasters that were successfully averted.”

“Unfortunately, that is still true,”

“The public sector needs to be willing either to cover more costs upfront or to provide much larger rewards for the investments that end up succeeding,”

“but that’s the wrong focus” according to Ouellette. “Governments can cover out-of-pocket costs for patients while still rewarding developers.”

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