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Pfizer made nearly £2bn in profit from cash-strapped NHS for its Covid vaccine

The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was a key wing of the UK’s jab rollout last winter, which has enabled the country to move out of lockdown rules

The UK’s booster rollout now heavily involves the Pfizer vaccine

Pharma giant Pfizer made nearly £2billion in profits from the cash-strapped NHS for its Covid vaccine.

The whopping mark-up is six times the amount the Government spent on its pay rise for exhausted nurses.

Campaigners last night called for a rethink of rules which allow giants such as Pfizer to siphon off money from a publicly funded vaccine.

The NHS paid £2.57bn to Pfizer for 135 million doses of its Covid vaccine, with a £1.9bn mark-up above production cost.

The jab cost just £4.94 to produce – but the taxpayer was billed £18 a dose for the first 100 million jabs and £22 a dose for the next 35 million.

A vial of the Pfizer Covid vaccine sold to the NHS for a large mark-up
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

The eye-watering profit margin is more than six times the £302million ministers have allowed NHS England to spend on pay rises for nurses.

Campaign group Global Justice Now has called on the Government to drive down drug prices by waiving intellectual property rules on coronavirus vaccines and treatments for the remainder of the pandemic.

The rules allow Pfizer to patent the vaccine and hold the exclusive rights to produce them. This means they can dominate the markets, setting prices without any competition.

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Pharma campaigner Tim Bierley said: “Like all of our Covid-19 vaccines, the Pfizer-BioNTech jab was developed with huge public funding.

“It should belong to all of us, not used to rip off the NHS.

“Throughout this pandemic, the Government’s priorities have been all wrong. Instead of valuing the key workers who have got us through it, or ensuring everyone has access to lifesaving vaccines and treatments, they’ve helped big businesses profit from a crisis.

A Covid vaccine centre in North London
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Image:

Dinendra Haria/LNP)

“At the World Trade Organisation next month, the Government has a choice to make. They can stand with our NHS and demand the right to healthcare for all, or they can side with Pfizer and other big-business profiteers who only want to extract a profit from the public purse.”

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine received £2.5bn in public funding, mostly from the German and American governments. But the company has been allowed to demand huge profits from healthcare systems around the world.

Pfizer says it will net $36bn this year from Covid vaccine sales.

AstraZeneca partnered with Oxford University to sell Covid jabs at cost while the pandemic lasted. But this month it announced it was to start signing deals for profit.

More than 130 countries, including the United States, support a waiver on intellectual property rights, which was first proposed by India and South Africa last October.

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