Pfizer has hiked the cost of future orders of its coronavirus vaccine placed by the European Commission more than 60 per cent.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Bokyo Borissov this morning said the US pharmaceutical giant has increased the cost of future orders sold to the EU from €12 per dose to €19.50.
Borissov added that the EU is currently in the process of signing a future order of 900m further doses of Pfizer’s vaccine at the higher price.
Pfizer chief financial officer Frank D’Amelio previously hinted that the company would only roll out a significant price hike once the spread of the virus moved from a pandemic to regional endemics.
Speaking at the virtual Barclays Global Healthcare Conference last month, D’Amelio said there would be a chance for Pfizer to take advantage of opportunities from “a demand…and pricing perspective” with the resumption of “normal market conditions” over time.
Pfizer has pledged to split costs and profit margins equally with German firm Biontech on their Covid vaccine.
The company announced last month that it expects to make $15bn (£10.9bn) off its coronavirus vaccine this year based on current deals.
The EU confirmed it is currently drawing up contracts with different vaccine companies to reserve 2bn booster jabs over the next two years.
Moderna has said it will also increase future Covid jab prices in line with “innovative vaccines”, suggesting a major payday on the horizon for Big Pharma firms.
Astrazeneca investors have also suggested the Anglo-Swedish firm should raise the price of its vaccine after enjoying little reputational gain from promising to deliver its jab on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic.
Astrazeneca is currently developing a “next generation” vaccine especially suited to emerging Covid variants that are thought to be at least partially resistant to available jabs.
It comes as South America is currently grappling with a surge in infections thought to derive from the rapid spread of a new Brazilian Covid variant.
European leaders have warned that lifting current lockdown restrictions prematurely could encourage the spread of emerging Covid variants further afield.
Countries across the bloc are attempting to step up their vaccination drives this week after a sluggish rollout over the past few months.
The European Commission said last week countries across the continent must accelerate their vaccination drives in order to keep the threat from emerging Covid variants at bay.
France announced over the weekend it will follow in the UK’s footsteps and increase the gap between the two doses of the mRNA jabs to speed up basic protection against Covid.
In Germany, the number of people who received a first dose of the Covid vaccine jumped by more than a quarter within a week to 12.7m, according to data published by the Robert Koch Institute on Saturday.
The two European countries are among a handful that have failed to stem a deadly third wave of coronavirus ripping across their populations.
The whole of France is currently under a lockdown that includes restrictions on travel, shop closures and a 7pm-6am curfew.
Meanwhile Germany, which has so far relied on regional restrictions, is planning to impose countrywide curfew rules for the first time.