The European Union could pay 8.5 billion euros just for two candidate vaccines, those being developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and CureVac, Reuters advances from community sources involved in negotiating the contracts.

The European Commission would have agreed to pay 15.50 euros per dose per alternative from Pfizer and BioNTech. That would mean a total price of up to 3,100 million for 200 million doses, which would increase to 4,650 million if another 100 million optional vials contemplated in the commercial pact are purchased.

Since two injections per citizen are necessary, the cost rises to 31 euros per treatment.

The agreed price of € 15.50 per dose would only be paid by European governments willing to buy the injection, and only if the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approves it as safe and effective. Pfizer recently announced that it expects the distribution of this product in December in Europe, but has yet to receive authorization from the EMA.

This price information, which is confidential, confirms that the EU is paying less per dose than the United States. The agreement includes insurance for EU countries to obtain compensation if companies divert doses to the United States, according to the source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

In the case of CureVac, the Executive of Ursula von der Leyen has agreed to disburse 10 euros per dose for an initial supply of 225 million doses of the German firm’s candidate vaccine, a discount from the 12 euros that the company established as a price . Likewise, two doses will be necessary, so the cost per person amounts to 20 euros.

The EC reached an agreement with CureVac this week to ensure the supply of up to 405 million doses, of which 180 million are optional. Reuters indicates that the German laboratory had promised to begin deliveries at the end of March.

It is unclear whether the additional 180 million doses would cost € 10 or € 12 each. However, at 10 euros, the 27 would pay 4,050 million euros for those 405 million doses.

The EU has also concluded supply agreements with other laboratories. AstraZeneca is far apart, since its vaccine (two doses for 5.9 euros in total) is by far the cheapest, so in the medium term it may be a relevant factor for the authorities. Likewise, Janssen’s (which is expected to be administered as a single dose) is cheaper, since it costs around 8.5 euros, according to the company without disclosing the specific cost of the contract with Brussels. For Sanofi it is calculated around 10 euros and for Moderna it is known that it will be less than 21 euros, but without specifying.

A spokesman for the European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, declined to comment on the terms and prices of the vaccine contracts because they are confidential. BioNTech and CureVac of Germany declined to comment.

US drugmaker Pfizer said it is using a tiered pricing formula based on volume and delivery dates and that the agreement with the EU represented the largest initial order for its vaccine candidate to date. “We are not disclosing any further details of this agreement,” he added.

In July, the US government agreed with Pfizer to pay $ 19.5 (16.5 euros) per dose for 100 million, with the option to buy another 500 million on terms to be negotiated separately.

The lower price partly reflects the financial support given by the European Union to BioNTech for the development of the drug, according to community sources. To ensure the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the EU has made an initial non-refundable payment to companies. The amount has not been disclosed, but is estimated at 700 million euros.

In a sign of global competition to secure vaccines, the EU required Pfizer and BioNTech to accept a “breach of contract clause” if they diverted doses to the United States, the source said. In that eventuality, the EU states would receive a refund of 50% of the money they had paid, the official said. This clause was requested by the EU, added the official, despite the fact that the companies plan to produce the doses for Europe in Belgium and Germany.

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