Group urges Pfizer, Glaxo to lower vaccine prices for poor nations

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) is asking pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline to reduce the cost of vaccines in the world's poorest countries, Reuters said Tuesday.

For example, Reuters recently said MSF is encouraging Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline to reduce the cost for pneumococcal disease blockers to $5 per child.

Prices for the pneumococcal vaccines vary, based on a recent report from the Guardian newspaper, which said hospitals in Morocco pay about $64 per dose, Tunisia pays $67 and the cost in France is roughly $58 per vaccine.

Kate Elder, MSF policy adviser, said it is an "irrational situation."

International sales for the pneumococcal vaccines have reached $19 million.

Pfizer's Prevenar 13 pneumococcal vaccine brought in $4.048 billion internationally, while GlaxoSmithKline's Synflorix pneumococcal vaccine has generated $3 billion, Bloomberg said.

"A handful of big pharmaceutical companies are overcharging donors and developing countries for vaccines that already earn them billions of dollars in wealthy countries," Rohit Malpan, policy and analysis director for the access campaign, said to Reuters.

Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline said the prices are justified.

GlaxoSmithKline said to Reuters that Synflorix is "one of the most complex" vaccines it has produced to date. Pfizer said it takes more than two years to create Prevenar 13, requiring 500 quality-control tests and countless professionals.

"We need to put public health before profit," Elder said to Reuters. "Life-saving vaccines for children shouldn't be big business in poor countries."

Organizations in this Story

Doctors Without Borders

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