Statement |

68th WHA: MSF Intervention on the Global Vaccine Action Plan

WHO 68th World Health Assembly, 2015
Provisional agenda item 16.4 – Global Vaccine Action Plan
Kate Elder

Last year, approximately 20 Member States expressed concern over high prices of new vaccines, calling for WHO to help increase affordability. As an organization struggling to afford new vaccines for our patients, MSF sympathizes with these concerns. Many Member States, especially those excluded from donor support and price negotiation mechanisms, cannot afford the newest vaccines. These so-called middle-income countries (MICs), which are not Gavi-eligible, represent 30% of the global birth cohort. This will increase as more countries lose Gavi support. WHO estimates that 82% of vaccine-preventable deaths will occur in MICs in 2025.

MSF’s Right Shot report found that even at the lowest global prices, the three newest vaccines – against pneumonia, diarrhoea and human papillomavirus – account for 86% of the price of the full WHO-recommended vaccines package.

The vaccine price crisis threatens the success of the Decade of Vaccines (DOV) and children’s lives. WHO acknowledged that more price data is needed to improve affordability. MSF urges all Member States to make the prices they pay publicly available though WHO’s Vaccine Product, Price and Procurement project.

MSF is supporting these efforts with a public campaign calling on Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline to reduce the price of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to $5 per child for all developing countries and MICs. At the companies’ shareholder meetings, we asked them to publish the prices they charge. Unsurprisingly, neither agreed. In fact, Pfizer claimed that it’s the countries who request confidentiality in price contracts.

MSF welcomes the SAGE recommendations to get the DOV back on track, and agrees that price transparency is critical to improving affordability. We urge WHO and the DOV Secretariat to continue monitoring prices, and governments to share price data. We invite Member States to join our public campaign by using your voice to call for more affordable vaccines.  

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