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If The Vaccine’s Worth $32 Trillion Then Why Are We Whining About The Pharma Companies?

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The existence of – prompted by the idea that it is subsequently used – a covid vaccine has value. You know, nice to be able to go for lunch with the old folks without killing them.

OK, but what is that value? One way we can do this is by asking how stock markets have moved as the news about vaccines, their successes, failures, has worked through the system. Unsurprisingly, markets fell when the pandemic and lockdowns arrived. They’ve then risen as the rollout of the vaccine has got closer. It’s possible to pull this apart and get an estimate of the wealth we’d be willing to gain to have a vaccine – or, if we prefer, how much wealth the existence of the vaccine has created:

Quantifying the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the worth of a cure can assist cost-benefit analyses of potential public-sector investment to alleviate the impact of the current pandemic. By reflecting forward-looking expectations, stock prices should indicate the economic value of progress being made towards vaccine development. This column estimates the value of a COVID-19 cure using the behaviour of stock prices and a novel vaccine progress indicator. The value of a cure is worth between 5% and 15% of wealth and rises substantially with uncertainty surrounding the frequency and duration of the pandemic. Understanding the fundamental biological and social determinants of future pandemics may be as important as resolving the immediate crisis.

OK, call that 10% then. And global wealth is around $320 trillion. That’s not human capital – a far larger sum – nor the amount that governments are sitting upon and wasting. That’s property, pensions and financial assets – $320 trillion. The vaccines’ worth 10% of that or $32 trillion.

Which means that some people have some ‘splainin’ to do out there. Those idiots (Well, Hellooo there Prof Mazzucato!) shouting that Big Bad Pharma doesn’t deserve anything. This is public health, there should be a public solution and anyway, it’s all based on government paid research anyway.

And, well. Pfizer might make a billion or two off this. AstraZenaca another such. Hell, let’s be generous here, let’s say they’ll all, together, make $10 billion.

So, we out here gain $32 trillion – trillion – of wealth. The capitalist bloodsuckers over there are going to get $10 billion – billion.

And people are complaining about our being on the right end of the greatest bargain in all history? They’re idiots, aren’t they?

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Surely the time to consider the cost was before the vaccines were ordered. One could have said, ‘It’s only a bad flu year. Lets not waste the money.’

    But now they’ve been produced, the questions are obviously ,’ Were they produced on time and are they effective.’

    Well the vaccines have certainly been produced remarkably quickly, so no problem there.

    Are they effective? Well I’m damned if I know. As far as I can tell, they don’t stop you getting covid, and they don’t stop you giving it to someone else, but they do make it less likely that you’ll have severe symptoms. But whether the side effects kill more people than the vaccines save from covid, I’ve no idea.

    One can only hope that adequate and accurate records are being kept. That way we won’t make the same mistakes next time. We’ll think up a whole new batch of blunders to enjoy.

  2. I wouldn’t bet anything on accurate records. In the US the Kung Flu death toll is vastly inflated (deaths with a positive swab post-mortem are deaths from, even car crashes) & it’s not a secret, yet everyone uses the “official” numbers like they’re legit. I’ve had Lefty friends use the 300k number, I ask “you know that number’s bogus right”, get a sheepish “yes” in response.

    The people writing the official record of this aren’t going to let the Curajus State come out as less than a Hero.

    Dennis Prager came out very early against Lockdowns and repeatedly claimed this would be recorded as the greatest blunder in human history, I thought it was strangely naive of him to think that the usual suspects would write it that way, no matter how clear it becomes in tome.

    • Additionally, there are financial incentives for hospitals for find Covid-19 as the cause of death, no matter how outlandish the connection.

  3. AZ isn’t going to make a $billion out of the vaccine. What’s in it for them – apart from the health of their shareholders who are overwhelming old and male, which is after all the profile of the typical shareholder – is becoming the collaborator of choice for the world’s no 1 university and the good PR with media and governments: so they will play ball with Oxford and make no profit during the pandemic.
    AZ may, or may not – who knows at this stage – a few $billion from future collaborations with Oxford but it isn’t in there for the quick buck.
    AZ directors have a fiduciary duty to manage the business in the interests of their shareholders – saving the lives of around 10% of the shareholders meets this criterion.

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