Watchdog group calls for vaccine pricing investigation

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has called for an investigation into the vaccine pricing polices of two pharmaceutical companies.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington allege that drug companies Sanofi Pasteur and Merck & Co. of Whitehouse Station, N.J., give discounts on some vaccines to physician healthcare groups, but only as long as the groups buy all of their vaccines from the same company, according to a report.

The group also alleges,  in a letter to Richard Feinstein, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, that the pricing policies force doctors to put costs above the well-being of patients.

In an e-mailed statement to, a Sandofi spokesperson wrote that the contracts they enter into with different group purchasing organizations offer real value to those who choose to buy the company’s vaccines. The spokesperson went on to note that customers are able to purchase competitive vaccines if they choose and that the company's contracts comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.

A spokesperson for Merck & Co. told that the terms of its company contracts are lawful and that the company strongly disagree with any statement or implication suggesting otherwise.

A spokesperson with Feinstein’s office confirmed it has received the request, but will not confirm whether an investigation either will or will not take place, according to the report.