[Ip-health] MSF responds to Bill Gates in the Guardian: We want vaccines for a fair price, not free

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Feb 2 23:31:23 PST 2015


Bill Gates claims that criticising pharmaceutical companies for charging
high prices for vaccines will deter them from developing the medicines
needed to fight diseases in poor countries (Report
26 January). Let us keep in mind the $19bn made by the two companies –
UK-based GSK and Pfizer – solely on sales of a vaccine that protects
children against pneumonia, a condition that kills 1 million children every

Mr Gates wrongly claims that MSF has called for vaccines to be available
for free. We have in fact called on GSK and Pfizer to reduce the price to
$5 per child. This is half of the current cost, which we are worried is
unaffordable for many countries. An Indian manufacturer has already
indicated that it could make the vaccine for $6, so we believe our call is
perfectly reasonable.

Mr Gates also says that MSF doesn’t “actually know anything about the
costs” of the vaccine’s production. The pharmaceutical industry shrouds its
vaccine production costs in secrecy, despite our repeated calls for them to
open the books. MSF has asked the Gates Foundation for its more detailed
cost information on the pneumonia vaccine for years, to no avail; we urge
the Gates Foundation to publicly share this information.

*Kate Elder*
*Vaccines policy adviser at MSF Access Campaign*

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