At the 68th WHA, resolution 68.6 – co-sponsored by 18 countries – was adopted, turning the pleas of governments that have for years appealed to the global community for help to combat high vaccine prices into action.
MSF acknowledges the GVAP Secretariat report and appreciates the initial steps taken to report upon progress towards implementing resolution 68.6. However, it is concerning that the first report back does not include any concrete steps on actions being taken to lower the price of vaccines.
MSF has first-hand experience of how high prices prevent us from scaling up vaccinations for children in crisis-affected areas. Two-thirds of all unvaccinated children live in conflict areas, yet we can’t purchase vaccines at the lowest global price. Gavi does not allow us access to the Gavi price, and pharmaceutical companies have not offered us a sustainable solution for purchasing vaccines for humanitarian emergencies. MSF recently had to purchase Pfizer’s pneumococcal vaccine at the exorbitant price of 60 euros per dose to vaccinate refugee children in Greece. We call on companies, in particular Pfizer and GSK, to offer an affordable and sustainable price for PCV to humanitarian organisations.
High prices are an effect of the lack of competition in the new vaccines market – pneumococcal, HPV and rotavirus vaccines each have only two WHO prequalified manufacturers.
WHO must use its expertise to facilitate an accelerated review of PCV vaccine candidates from competitors. There is the potential to cut many months off the wait time for the next PCV product.
Through Resolution 68.6, governments have made their need for more affordable vaccines clear and now implementation is the responsibility of both the Secretariat and governments. Governments should continue to share price data with WHO to increase vaccine price transparency and the Secretariat must start the real work to make vaccines more affordable.