According to data by Global Justice Now, just top eight shareholders of Pfizer and Moderna gained a total of $10.31 billion last week after experiencing a surge in share prices in response to the rise of Omicron.
Moderna´s shares skyrocketed after the announcement and settled at $310.61 per share on Wednesday, December 1, up 13.61% from $273.39 per share since Wednesday, November 24, the day before the announcement.
Pfizer’s shares rose by 7.4% from $50.91/share to $54.68 per share.
Moderna’s CEO, Stephane Bancel, personally became more than $824m richer in the week after the announcement, with the value of his shares rising from $6,052,522,978 to $6,876,528,630.
Bancel has refused to share the recipe for Moderna’s vaccine with the World Health Organization to help scale-up manufacturing of mRNA vaccines through its new hub in South Africa.
Drug companies knew that grotesque levels of inequality in vaccines would create the optimal conditions for new variants to emerge, warned Tim Bierley, pharmaceutical activist for Global Justice Now.
“They let Covid-19 spread relentlessly in low- and middle-income countries. And now the same pharmaceutical executives and shareholders are gaining ground with a crisis they helped create. It is absolutely obscene,” he stressed.
Such drug companies hampered efforts to distribute vaccines more equitably around the world, he said.
He said the companies made “more than enough money from the pandemic, selling two of the most lucrative drugs in history. It is time to deliver prescription for these essential drugs to the WHO so that we can finally put an end to this pandemic.”