[Ip-health] MSF kicks off global ████ to reduce the price of ████ to $5 in developing countries

Joanna Keenan joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Thu Apr 23 06:56:34 PDT 2015

MSF kicks off global ████ to reduce the price of ████ to $5 in developing


Urges public to #AskPharma how countries can get a fair shot when ██████ is
kept secret

New York, 23 April 2015—Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières
(MSF) today launched a global campaign—‘A FAIR SHOT’— to call on
pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer to slash the
price of the pneumococcal vaccine in developing countries to US$5 per
child, so more children can be protected from this childhood killer, and to
disclose what they currently charge countries for the vaccine.

To kickoff the campaign, MSF staff attended Pfizer’s shareholder meeting in
New Jersey today to ask a question from the floor, pushing the company’s
board members to disclose the price of their pneumonia vaccine in all
countries. MSF also handed out documents with key information blacked out
to highlight the deadly secrecy surrounding vaccine pricing. follow
progress and see photos.

In January, MSF released its vaccine pricing report, The Right Shot:
Bringing Down Barriers to Affordable and Adapted Vaccines, which showed
that in the poorest countries, the price to vaccinate a child is now 68
times more expensive than in 2001, with many parts of the world unable to
afford new high-priced vaccines like that against pneumococcal disease,
which kills about one million children each year.

“As doctors who have seen too many children die of pneumonia, struggling to
breathe, we are asking anyone who cares about children’s lives to join our
public call on Pfizer and GSK to make sure all developing countries can
afford to protect all their babies against this killer disease,” said Dr.
Greg Elder, Director of Operations for MSF in Paris. “The sky-high prices
Pfizer and GSK charge for the pneumococcal vaccine prevent many governments
and humanitarian organisations from vaccinating children, and after seeing
the price to vaccinate a child rise substantially over the past decade, we
have no choice but to take action now.”

Part of the reason vaccination has become so costly is linked to the fact
that very little information on vaccine pricing is available, leaving many
developing countries and humanitarian agencies to negotiate with
pharmaceutical companies from a very weak position, with no way to compare
prices. Some countries have to sign confidentiality clauses that prevent
them from disclosing the price they pay for their vaccines.  In around 45
countries, there is no information about the price for the pneumococcal
vaccine; this secrecy and lack of transparency in how companies set prices
prevents governments from having a fair shot at protecting their children
with an affordable vaccine. It’s led to the irrational situation where some
middle-income countries pay more for the pneumococcal vaccine than wealthy
ones: ████ pays more than France and some countries pay multiple times more
than others: South Africa pays almost three times more than ████ * (answers

"It's absurd to see the pricing information of a life-saving product kept
secret, with countries and organisations  left in the dark when trying to
negotiate a fair price,” said Dr. Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director of
MSF’s Access Campaign. “The level of pharma’s secrecy is astonishing— we
can’t get information from Pfizer and GSK on what they charge countries for
the pneumococcal vaccine. The question we are asking today is, how any
country can negotiate fair vaccine prices when critical information is

Ahead of World Immunization Week, MSF called on the public to support its
campaign on social media, using a provocative censored text tactic that
highlights the lack of information on vaccine prices, in order to increase
pressure on the companies to be more transparent.

MSF is now urging people everywhere to #AskPharma to disclose the price of
the pneumococcal vaccine and to ask GSK and Pfizer to reduce the price of
the vaccine to $5 or less per child ($1.66 per dose for three doses) in
developing countries.

* Answers: Tunisia pays more than France; South Africa pays almost three
times more than Brazil.

Each year, MSF teams vaccinate millions of people, largely as outbreak
response to diseases such as measles, meningitis, yellow fever and cholera.
MSF also supports routine immunisation activities in projects where it
provides health care to mothers and children. In 2013 alone, MSF delivered
more than 6.7 million doses of vaccines and immunological products. MSF has
purchased the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in the past for use in its
emergency operations. In 2013, MSF vaccinated with PCV and pentavalent
vaccine in Yida refugee camp, South Sudan. In 2014, similar vaccination
activities with the PCV vaccine were conducted for refugees in Uganda and
Ethiopia. MSF is scaling up its use of the PCV vaccine and other vaccines
with a particular focus on improving its work in routine immunisation, as
well as extending the package of vaccines used in humanitarian emergencies.

Joanna Keenan
Press Officer
Médecins Sans Frontières - Access Campaign
P: +41 22 849 87 45
M: +41 79 203 13 02
E: joanna.keenan[at]geneva.msf.org
T: @joanna_keenan


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