31. May 2011 16:45
UNICEF has revealed a decision to publish the prices it pays to vaccine manufacturers in an attempt to lower the cost of vaccines needed in the developing world.
UNICEF spent US$757 million on vaccines in 2010, but has never before revealed the prices charged by each producer.
Many companies have given the green light for their prices from the last 10 years to be openly published as part of a voluntary price reporting system. From now on, all company prices will be routinely published.
“This is a real step forward—until now it was difficult for countries to find out what companies were charging for specific vaccines,” said Daniel Berman, Deputy Director of the Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). “Full price transparency facilitates competition and will allow buyers to make the best choices for immunisation programmes.”
MSF has also urged The GAVI Alliance (The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) to stimulate competition and to create incentives for emerging country producers to speed up the development of low-cost, adapted versions of vaccines.
“Developing countries would benefit from vaccines that are easier to store and transport, do not need refrigeration and that are easier to administer – orally or through patches, for example rather than with needles. GAVI should flex its purchasing muscles to encourage manufacturers down this path,” Mr Berman added.