Payday for Big Pharma: Pfizer raises $ 3.5 billion from its withdrawal in just three months

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House Democrats who have received the most donations from the pharmaceutical industry are refusing to support an effort to release the patents on COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries, even as Pfizer reports massive revenues from its vaccine.

Pfizer reported $ 3.46 billion in first-quarter vaccine sales in all but three countries on Tuesday. BioNTech, which breaks down vaccination costs and profits, will report the remaining earnings on May 10.

The company has nearly doubled its sales forecasts for the COVID-19 vaccine this year, from $ 15 billion to about $ 26 billion, citing strong demand for its vaccine.

Meanwhile, the nine House Democrats among the 25 largest recipients of pharmaceutical industry PACs in Congress have all refused to agree to a letter calling on the Biden government to relinquish intellectual property rights to the vaccine to allow developing countries to stock their own produce, thus Huffington Post.

A New Mexico resident poses for a portrait with his vaccination card after receiving his coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine last month.  More is being asked of the Biden government to release the patents on COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries

A New Mexico resident poses for a portrait with his vaccination card after receiving his coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine last month. More is being asked of the Biden government to release the patents on COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries

Workers on Monday carry the body of a COVID victim in Guwahati, India, asking for its own versions of proprietary vaccines and treatments

Workers on Monday carry the body of a COVID victim in Guwahati, India, asking for its own versions of proprietary vaccines and treatments

In all, 110 of the 218 House Democrats signed the letter, which Rep. Jan Schakelowsky, a Democrat from Illinois, wants to present to President Joe Biden on Tuesday, the paper reported. It was not clear whether Republicans had been invited to apply.

The letter asks Biden to heed calls from India, South Africa and other developing countries and temporarily lift trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS) that prevent them from producing proprietary COVID-19 vaccines or treatments.

Such a move could potentially cut profits from New York-based Pfizer and Massachusetts-based Moderna, but proponents say it would be a critical step to end the pandemic and help the hard-hit developing countries.

According to the Huffington Post, Democratic representatives Scott Peters and Ron Kind, both on the top 25 pharmaceutical donation list, have even asked colleagues to back up a letter to the contrary asking Biden not to swing the intellectual property rules.

The other Democrats on the list who did not sign the letter include New Jersey House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, and representatives. Anna Eshoo from California, Brad Schneider from Illinois, Kurt Schrader from Oregon and Raul Ruiz from California.

Representative Scott Peters

Representative Ron Kind

Democratic representatives Scott Peters (left) and Ron Kind (right), both on the top 25 pharmaceutical donation list, have even asked colleagues to support an opposing letter asking Biden not to wave the rules for intellectual property

Protesters in Honduras are demanding the vaccine against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at a demonstration to mark International Workers' Day in Tegucigalpa on May 1.

Protesters in Honduras are demanding the vaccine against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at a demonstration to mark International Workers’ Day in Tegucigalpa on May 1.

On Tuesday, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said it is necessary to make vaccines more widely available worldwide to end the coronavirus pandemic and promote economic recovery.

In a comment at a Council of the Americas conference, Tai said the world has made real progress to end the pandemic, but there is still much work to be done.

“That includes making the vaccine widely available and tackling the global inequality in access to vaccines,” she said. ‘This is not only a requirement for public health. Our economic recovery depends on it. ‘

Tai will discuss the demands of developing countries to waive intellectual property rights to coronavirus vaccines at a meeting of the WTO General Council later this week.

She has spent the past few days meeting with the chief executives of the major vaccine manufacturers to discuss the waiver proposal and ways to boost vaccine production and distribution.

In Tuesday’s earnings report, Pfizer said it made $ 4.9 billion in the first three months of the year, thanks in part to strong demand for its COVID-19 vaccine.

A annual review of Pfizer's stock shows the stock's gains since the vaccine's introduction

A annual review of Pfizer’s stock shows the stock’s gains since the vaccine’s introduction

A one-year review of the Moderna stock shows the stock's gains since the introduction of the vaccine

A one-year review of the Moderna stock shows the stock’s gains since the introduction of the vaccine

Pfizer is also testing a pill as well as another drug that is injected as COVID-19 treatments.

Some patient advocates and consumer groups are now accusing the makers of COVID-19 vaccines of profiteering because they have only pledged to stick to nonprofit prices until the pandemic emergency is over. Some want patents to be suspended to allow poor countries to get cheaper vaccines faster.

During a conference call on Tuesday, Pfizer listed the three price levels for the vaccine, depending on each country’s financial situation. In the US, Pfizer charges $ 19.50 for each dose, well below what Prevnar and many other vaccines here cost.

Pfizer reported net profit of $ 4.88 billion, or 86 cents a share, on Tuesday. That was up from $ 3.36 billion, or 60 cents a share, in the same period last year, when the global coronavirus pandemic began to trigger lockdowns and significantly reduced doctor visits, diagnostic tests, and new prescriptions for other drugs.

Adjusted earnings were up 48 percent to $ 5.26 billion, or 93 cents a share, well above the 79 cents Wall Street expected. Revenue was $ 14.58 billion, an increase of 45 percent and also well above forecasts of $ 13.49 billion.

Moderna will report the quarterly figures on Thursday before the opening bell.

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