Pfizer will price Paxlovid at $1,390 per treatment course when selling directly to health insurers beginning in 2024. That’s about 2.6 times higher than the $529 the federal government paid for the antiviral after it launched in late 2021.
Pfizer plans to subsidize copays for commercially insured patients at least through 2028.
Pfizer has reduced its sales forecast for the drug in 2023, estimating it to generate between $58 billion and $61 billion in revenue, down from the previous guidance of $67 billion to $70 billion.
Paxlovid price analysis
In late 2022, Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) pegged the health benefit price benchmark (HBPB) for Paxlovid as an outpatient treatment for COVID-19, suggesting a price range of $563-$906 per treatment course. The organization noted that the $906 value is “the top price range at which a health system can reward innovation and better health for patients without doing more harm than good.”
The new price of Paxlovid is about 53.4% higher than ICER’s upper limit price of $906.
A Harvard analysis concluded that a five-day course costs about $13.38 to produce. It estimated that the generic cost of the drug assuming a10% profit margin, and 26.6% tax on profit would be $15.08 for a full course.
The organization reduced its pricing guidelines as a result of new data indicating lower risks for hospitalization among untreated patients and a lower relative reduction in hospitalization in Paxlovid-treated patients. ICER also considered rising vaccination and natural infection rates over time when calculating its pricing analysis.
Pfizer noted in a statement that, “Pricing for PAXLOVID is based on the value it provides to patients, providers, and health care systems due to its important role in helping reduce COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.”
The company had initially hoped to expand its use, making it potentially available as a post-exposure prophylactic, but data did not support that.
COVID-19 vaccines are also have a significant price tag
The mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines now are dramatically more expensive than traditional flu vaccines. The private sector cost for COVID-19 vaccine was about $100 more than the average influenza vaccine cost based on CDC data. The prices are as follows:
- Moderna (Spikevax)
- Pediatric (Age 6 months through 11 years): $128.00
- Adult (Age 12 years and older): $128.00
- Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty)
- Pediatric (Age 5 years through 11 years): $77.00
- Pediatric (Age 6 months through 4 years): $57.50
- Adult (Age 12 years and older): $115.00
- Novavax (COVID-19 Vaccine)
- Adult (Age 12 years and older): $130.00
For pediatric vaccines, the private sector vaccine costs are 373.43% more than the influenza vaccine. For adults, the COVID-19 vaccine costs 479.93% more than the average influenza vaccine cost.