AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) sent letters to the top investors of Moderna, Inc. this week, urging them to divest from the vaccine maker in the interest of corporate social responsibility. After it accepted at least $2.5 billion in US taxpayer funding, Moderna priced its vaccine higher than any other manufacturer and has been unwilling to share the know-how and technology to increase global production.
AHF’s appeal to shareholders to release their holdings follows calls by some investors for Moderna to explain why its vaccines are priced so high and virtually unavailable in poorer countries. Moderna expects 2021 sales to be “between $15 billion and $18 billion,” according to a People’s Vaccine Alliance report. Additionally, the pharma company expects “about $18.5 billion in 2022 from contracts for its COVID-19 vaccine, and about $3.5 billion from potential additional purchases including booster candidates updated for variants,” according to Reuters.
“Moderna could be the poster child for corporate greed. And while we’ve come to expect this from drug companies – enough is enough. The world must not allow price-gouging on lifesaving commodities during a pandemic – a crisis that’s caused over 5.5 million global deaths,” said AHF Africa Bureau Chief Dr. Penninah Iutung. “Someone must set the example and put lives before profits—which is why we’re calling on investors to dump their Moderna shares and hit the vaccine manufacturer in the only place they care about – their pocketbook.”
In addition to pricing its vaccine so high it’s unattainable for most countries, Moderna has also refused to engage in meaningful negotiations with the US Government to share its technology with other vaccine makers, which would allow vaccines to be produced locally in lower-income countries. To date, only 1% of the nearly 10 billion global vaccine doses have gone to low-income countries. Barely 15% of people in Africa have received even one dose of a vaccine, compared to 84% and 74% for Canada and the United States, respectively.
“The world is entering the third year of living under the shroud of COVID-19 and is more than a year removed from when vaccines became available – there’s no reason why the majority of countries should still be struggling to get sufficient access to lifesaving doses,” added Terri Ford, Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy for AHF. “It’s sad that we’re left with only extreme measures, but even investors are now telling the world that Moderna’s greed must be curbed to meet the global need for vaccines. Today is trash day – stockholders must dump their Moderna shares immediately.”
AHF has led its Vaccinate Our World (VOW) campaign since early 2021 to push leaders of wealthy countries and vaccine manufacturers to expand vaccine access for resource-poor countries. Learn more by visiting the VOW website today. The list of top 10 institutional shareholders of Moderna is available here.