The United States nearly always pays the highest drug prices in the world – should the coronavirus vaccine be any different?

The E.U. has been secretive about the prices the bloc has negotiated for its 2 billion doses of various vaccines - until a Belgian official tweeted and then deleted a list Thursday. Because the Union has negotiated collectively for vaccines on behalf of its members, the same prices apply across all 27 nations.

Comparing prices, it appears Europe has a 24 percent discount on the Pfizer vaccine. The bloc will also pay 45 percent less for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine currently under development. But Europe will pay 20 percent more than Americans for the Moderna vaccine. 

Both of the latter two vaccines were funded partly by the U.S. government as part of Operation Warp Speed. The AstraZeneca-Oxford team received $1.2 billion, and Moderna got $4.1 billion.

The E.U. negotiated as a bloc, but most other countries, including the U.S, are negotiating individual contracts with pharmaceutical companies.

Vaccine pricing is linked to a number of factors, including volume discounts and other specific promises made by governments when they signed contracts. Some governments have agreed to limit the liability drug manufacturers will face if side effects arise from the vaccines. In February, the Trump administration offered vaccine manufacturers protection from lawsuits until 2024.

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