Press release |

MSF response to GSK and Pfizer’s statement on the pneumonia vaccine (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV)

2 min
Photograph by Stephanie Pilick
DESCRIPTION:MSF stunt in Berlin outside the venue of the Gavi replenishment meeting, demanding GSK and Pfizer to reduce their price for the pneumococcal vaccine to $5 per child. The stunt involves world leaders spinning a wheel of chance in which - when it comes to the PCV vaccine - pharma almost always wins.

Geneva, 20 January 2015 — “We disagree that US$5 for three doses of the pneumococcal vaccine is unsustainable, especially considering that GSK and Pfizer have together made more than $19 billion on the PCV vaccine to date. Both companies can and should do more to ensure immunisation for the world's poorest children.

“The Serum Institute has already committed to sell the pneumococcal vaccine, with similar investments in development and production, for only $2 a dose. And the Serum Institute, unlike GSK and Pfizer, has not made such extraordinary revenues worldwide.

“If the companies say they cannot reduce the price below the current price, they should prove it.  GSK claims that they are just able to cover their costs at the price which they are selling to the poorest countries. Pfizer says they are selling it at a price below the cost to manufacture. Right now the cost of manufacturing - like the prices paid and the actual cost of research and development - is guarded like a state secret. We call on both companies to submit to an independent audit to verify the cost of production so that we can ensure poor countries and their donors are paying the lowest possible price for life-saving vaccines. Both GSK and Pfizer have almost claimed more than $1.5 billion extra on a donor-financed subsidy that doubled the payout for the vaccine in developing countries under Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Gavi’s own independent assessment concluded that the price it was paying for the pneumonia vaccine was well over the estimated cost of manufacture.

“GSK’s five year price freeze is not enough; having already earned outsized profits on new vaccines GSK should, at a minimum, commit to a permanent price freeze. Pfizer has made no long term price commitments to developing countries after the conclusion of Gavi’s mechanism for financing the pneumonia vaccine, called the Advance Market Commitment. Both companies should actively work towards reducing the price to $5 per child, for all three doses.

“A deeply discounted price when compared with a developed country price may look good, but really it reflects the unaffordable prices of vaccines in developed countries more than it reflects developing countries getting a good deal.”

- Rohit Malpani, Director Policy and Analysis, Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign.

For MSF’s response on GSK providing PCV vaccines to MSF in a de-facto donation, please see here

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