EUROPA - One million children die of pneumococcal disease, but vaccines are too expensive

Friday, 24 April 2015

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - Every year about one million children die of pneumococcal disease. Currently in the poorest Countries, the price to vaccinate a child is now 68 times more expensive than it was in 2001, with many parts of the world unable to afford new high-priced vaccines. There is a lack of market competition, and pharmaceutical companies charge wildly different prices in different markets for the same product.
A note from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) sent to Agenzia Fides states that the NGO has just launched the global campaign "A fair shot" to slash the price of the pneumococcal vaccine in developing countries, so as to allow greater protection against this dangerous bacterium. For example, countries like Morocco and Tunisia are paying more for the pneumococcal vaccine than France does; South Africa pays almost three times more than Brazil.
One of the reasons why vaccinations have become so expensive is because there is little information on prices, and this forces many developing countries and aid agencies to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies without being able to compare prices. In about 45 countries, there is no information about the price for the vaccine. Ahead of World Immunization Week, MSF invites the public to support its campaign on social media. Each year, MSF teams vaccinate millions of people, largely as outbreak response to diseases such as measles, meningitis, yellow fever and cholera. In the past, the NGO purchased the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) to be used in its emergency operations. In 2013 refugees from Yida, in South Sudan were vaccinated. In 2014, it carried out similar vaccination with PCV vaccine for refugees in Uganda and Ethiopia. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 24/04/2015)