UNICEF begins posting vaccine prices online

The United Nations Children’s Fund recently began posting the prices it has paid for children’s vaccines on its official website in an effort to promote transparency and price competition in the wake of rising drug costs.

As the world’s largest purchaser of children’s vaccines, UNICEF spent $757 million last year to provide 2.5 billion doses of vaccines to 99 countries. It is estimated that UNICEF reached 58 percent of the world’s children through its efforts, according to CBS News.

The move corresponds with UNICEF’s commitment to ensure a sustainable and affordable vaccine supply. Further information on market dynamics that influence vaccine uptake are expected to be more publicly available in the future, according to MedicalNewsToday.com.

"Transparency is a core principle in itself and will support governments and partners in making more informed decisions," Shanelle Hall, UNICEF’s director of supply division, said, MedicalNewsToday reports. "Transparency will also help foster a competitive, diverse supplier base for global public goods.

"Improved transparency on pricing is coming at a critical time, especially as vaccines against pneumonia and diarrhea are being made available. The approach will soon be extended to other vaccine market dynamic factors, and other health products that are essential to child survival."

UNICEF consulted with its suppliers prior to publishing the vaccine prices online. All recent and future contracts will include a clause that allows UNICEF to publish the prices publicly.

Not all Western pharmaceutical companies support the move. Novartis AG and Merck & Co., have both declined to have their prices published.