Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel attempted on Wednesday to win over lawmakers irate about the company’s planned COVID-19 vaccine price increase, weathering a barrage of criticism from Democrats angry at the company’s profits from its groundbreaking mRNA vaccine.
Moderna plans to hike the price of its COVID-19 shot from $26 to between $110 and $130 as vaccine purchases transition from the federal government to commercial payers. Bancel said the company was also in discussions over prices for Medicare, Medicaid and other government payers.
Bancel defended the price increase, noting that the vaccine is Moderna’s first product and the company now has to establish all the necessary sales and distribution channels. Sales have also plummeted as fewer people do not want additional shots.
Bancel made nearly $19.4 million in 2022, and is due to receive another $393 million from the sale of stock options later this summer. He has pledged to donate the $176 million in after-tax proceeds from that sale to charity.
Total taxpayer investment on the Moderna vaccines reached $12 billion, Sanders said, and Moderna has made $21 billion in profits. The mRNA platform has also opened a trove of additional opportunities for the company, which is now exploring products in a number of areas like cancer.