[Ip-health] UNICEF Makes Vaccine Prices Public in Move Likely to have Major Impact on Developing Country Market

Katy Athersuch katy.athersuch at googlemail.com
Fri May 27 03:03:09 PDT 2011

*UNICEF Makes Vaccine Prices Public in Move Likely to have Major Impact on
Developing Country Market*

*Geneva, 27 May 2011*— In a bid to increase transparency and stimulate
competition to bring down the prices of vaccines needed in the developing
world, UNICEF has decided to publish the prices it pays to vaccine

“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

UNICEF is one of the largest vaccine purchasers, spending US$750 million on
vaccines in 2010. Before January 2011, UNICEF only published average
weighted prices of vaccines, rather than list the specific prices charged by
each producer.  This made it difficult for governments to know if they were
getting reasonable prices from vaccine producers.

A voluntary price reporting system was established earlier this year that
covered the annual prices paid by UNICEF over the last decade. Despite
initial reluctance, most companies have now given their green light for
UNICEF to publish retrospective prices. From now on, price reporting will be
systematic and company prices will be routinely published.

”By getting access to these prices, buyers will be able to take advantage of
the increasing capacity of emerging countries to develop and produce quality
vaccines at significantly lower costs,” Mr Berman said.

The GAVI Alliance, a major financer of vaccines for low income countries,
can also help to bring down prices. Médecins Sans Frontières urges GAVI to
use their buying power 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,” said
Mr Berman.

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