With the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine still underway, rumor has it that Moderna is considering pricing its vaccine 50% higher than Pfizer’s price tag for its vaccine. Both drug makers are in the late-stage testing of their potential coronavirus vaccines.

A safe and effective vaccine that will fight COVID-19 has yet to come out but recent reports already offer an idea of how much the vaccine will cost. Last week, the U.S. government closed a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to buy 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine for $1.95 billion, translating to a price tag of $19.5 per dose.

Meanwhile, Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate, the mRNA-1273, will cost $50 to $60 per course. This suggests that the price per dose will range between $25 and $30, since each course will include two doses. The drug maker and front runner in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine reportedly intends to sell its vaccine at a higher price to the U.S. and other countries with larger economies.

With the late-stage testing for the mRNA-1273 in full swing, Moderna is already in talks with various governments about potential supply deals. However, its coronavirus vaccine candidate has to win regulatory approvals first before it can supply doses to different countries. It will also take a few more months before the results from the study become available.

The U.S. government has invested a large sum of money in the drug maker’s COVID-19 vaccine program. In April, Moderna received a grant of $483 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to advance the development of its coronavirus vaccine. In July, the drug maker received an additional $472 million in funding from BARDA, raising its total federal funding commitments to a total of $955 million.

Considering that, it is not surprising that Moderna is now drawing flak for planning to charge more for its vaccine. In a statement, Rep. Jan Schakowsky accused the company of “contemplating how to turn its federal funding into sky-high profits.”

The mRNA-1273 is just one of the six COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are already in late-stage testing.

Vaccine Discussion about the Cuba's life-saving lung cancer vaccine called CimaVax-EGF is growing rapidly. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard