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Cost of immunisations pricing out developing countries

22 Jan 2015

The cost of immunising children has risen “astronomically” since 2000, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) revealed.

In 2001, the cost of immunising a child against tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio was £0.44 – rising to £21.24 for 12 diseases, that in addition to the previous six include hepatitis B, pneumococcal and rubella.

The cost of a full immunisation package has risen 68-fold since 2001, its report stated.

More than 6.7m vaccinations were delivered by MSF in 2013.

Director of policy and analysis at MSF access campaign, Rohit Malpani, said: “A handful of big pharmaceutical companies are overcharging donors and developing countries for vaccines that earn them billions of dollars in wealthy countries.

“We think its time for GSK and Pfizer to do their part to make vaccines more affordable for countries in the long-term.”

The Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, subsidies the cost of vaccines for many developing and middle-income countries, however, due to rising economic gains, may of these countries are soon not able to qualify for help under this scheme.

Vaccines policy advisor for MSF, Kate Edler, said: “We have an irrational situation where some developing countries like Morocco and Tunisia are paying more for the pneumococcal vaccine than France does.

“More than a quarter of the countries currently eligible for donor support through Gavi, will lose it starting next year, after which they will be left to pay about $10 per child for the pneumococcal vaccine, which is unaffordable for many countries.

Once a company loses the support from Gavi, its bill for new vaccines rise by over 1,500%.

“We need to put public health before profit—life-saving vaccines for children shouldn’t be big business in poor countries,” Elder said.

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