A group of CEOs from the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies gathered at the White House Lawn on Friday to celebrate the launch of a futures market specific for the Coronavirus vaccine. The initiative came after several governments in the US and European Union signed commitments to buy millions of doses of yet-to-be made vaccines from various pharmaceutical manufacturers.
“The interest we received from governments to buy what will be a limited supply of vaccines raised the moral question of how to allocate these finite, life-saving resources. We found the most ethical way to do this is by placing our trust in the invisible (and hopefully sanitized) hands of the free market, which will allocate vaccines to the people who produce the most value to society (i.e. those who make the most money and can afford the market-equilibrium price of the vaccine),” a spokesman for the group said.
“Effective immediately, members of the pharmaceutical industry will sell Covid-19 vaccines exclusively through derivative contracts called “futures” that will trade on a newly established exchange,” the group wrote in a press release.
Pharma Industry launches Coronavirus Free Enterprise Futures Exchange
The pharmaceutical industry approved the plan in its annual medication price-setting conference on June 20th, and the Coronavirus Free Enterprise Futures Exchange (COVFEFE) was launched two weeks later.
Vaccine futures began the first trading session to a slow start, but quickly gained momentum when Blackrock launched the exchange’s first index fund named the iShares Coronavirus First Futures Index Fund (iShares COFFIN Fund) which tracks the 10 most actively traded vaccine contracts.
But the market had its biggest rally last week when the Federal Reserve announced its intentions to buy vaccine futures at a pace of $1 billion per month.
When asked whether virus vaccines fall within the Fed’s mandate, Chairman Jerome Powell replied, “Inflammation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon,” quoting the Nobel-prize winning Economist Milton Freidman.
The newly established market is not immune to the irrational exuberance of investors. The price of a futures contract on a vaccine called Theranocloroquine soared 50% moments after the parent company announced it was halting Phase 1 clinic trials on the drug for its failure to produce positive results in patients.
It was later revealed that day traders on the millennial-favorite Robinhood trading platform started buying the contracts after this negative announcement, hoping for a repeat of the Hertz bankruptcy scenario.
The exchange issued a press release saying, “Robinhood traders were never supposed to be allowed on the exchange. We apologize for this error and have taken steps to prevent this from happening again.”