Astra Zenica could end up proving that there are other ways to do business…

There is little doubt that Public Relations is not Astra Zenica’s strongest point.

But is their undertaking (via Oxford University) to sell at cost while the pandemic lasts actually a substantial threat to other vaccine originators?

Estimates would appear to suggest appear that Pfizer and Moderna are likely to make $16-17 billion out of their vaccines.

Astra Zenica is reckoned to be in line to make no more than $1 billion on a ‘cost covering’ basis – and remember because of this same undertaking it is likely that its vaccine is going to be very much more widely distributed. That would mean its production would be unique in being motivated not simply by ‘capitalism and greed’.

Astra Zenica seem to have been regularly and comprehensively criticised – and I’m beginning to wonder if that force of protest is actually a particular result of their no excess profit idea as against most vaccine suppliers, who most definitely have their profit motive in tact.

Since their top two competitors are both American owned, where health sector provision is reputed for price gouging and excess profits, am I alone in suspecting that Astra Zenica needs to tread much more carefully?

Astra Zenica’s success could well be a more substantial threat to their competitors, not just on a vaccine effectiveness basis, but by proving that there are actually other ways of doing business…


  1. Andrew Dickie -

    One has only to read about the Wörgl experiment (see to see how the capitalist powers that be come down like a ton of bricks on any experiment that demonstrates that the Emperor has no clothes, and that “the great and terrible Wizard of Oz” is actually only a vulnerable human being, frantically pulling levers and pushing buttons, to maintain the machinery of the illusion of power he has built up around him.

    1. Peter May -

      Agree, the similarities are certainly there…

  2. Graham -

    Isn’t also a failure of governments, who have provided substantial funding for these vaccines, including guarantees to purchase, yet have not demanded a share of the profits, or, alternatively, that those receiving money from the public purse should sell at a reasonable price? And ensure that poorer countries get adequate supplies in a timely manner.

    In fact, I think there’s an argument to be made that in matters of public health & pandemics (none of us is safe until we are all safe) “Big Pharma” should be under public control.

    1. Peter May -

      I think the universities should be more reliably government funded for their research.
      Then perhaps big pharma should be directed at cost.
      Meanwhile perhaps big pharma might come up with something interesting without influencing the problems..?

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