(NEWSnet) — Moderna’s CEO on Wednesday defended a plan to more than quadruple the company’s COVID-19 vaccine price.

Stephane Bancel also said the drugmaker will work to ensure patients continue paying nothing at drugstores or clinics.

Bancel told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that the drugmaker will charge a list price of around $130 per dose for the vaccine in the U.S.

That price is expected to go into effect later this year. Until now, the federal government had been Moderna’s lone U.S. customer, buying doses in bulk to make sure that people weren’t charged anything.

The government paid around $15 per dose in 2020 and more than $26 last summer for Moderna’s bivalent booster, according to an analysis by the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.

More than 270 million doses of Moderna’s original COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots have been administered in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That makes it the second most popular coronavirus vaccine, trailing the shot made by Pfizer, which is also raising prices.

The hike will hit government payers like Medicaid and cost taxpayers.

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