UNICEF Publishes Vaccine Costs In Effort To Promote Price Competition
UNICEF for the first time on Friday published the prices it pays pharmaceutical companies for vaccines, "as the world's biggest buyer of lifesaving immunizations aims to spark price competition in the face of rising costs," the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (5/28). UNICEF, which until Friday only published the average prices it paid for vaccines, last year paid $747 million for more than two billion vaccine doses for 58 percent of children worldwide, according to the New York Times. UNICEF has informed all drug companies that, in the future, it will publish their prices (McNeil, 5/27).
Though UNICEF purchases and handles the contracts for vaccine procurement, the GAVI Alliance provides UNICEF with the majority of funding for vaccines, the Wall Street Journal reports. GAVI, which is funded by donations from nations and non-governmental organizations, "has struggled to raise enough money to fund its programs, and is holding a fund-raising conference in London next month," the newspaper reports (Whalen, 5/28).
GAVI is seeking $3.7 billion at the pledging conference, set to begin June 13, according to Reuters (Akam, 5/30). British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama discussed vaccine funding at the G8 conference last week, the Guardian writes. According to the newspaper, "the Obama administration is being asked to give $450m to the programme over three years," and "Britain will also announce a substantial extra contribution" (Wintour, 5/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.