MSF Bends Donation Policy for Pneumonia Vaccine

Thursday, January 22, 2015

After years of refusing vaccine handouts from big pharmaceutical companies, international medical humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières is bending its policy to accept donations of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.

The announcement came at the same time the medical group launched a report that aimed to give a picture of the difficulties countries face in securing vaccines recommended byWorld Health Organization for routine immunizations without support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The public-private partnership is able to secure lower than market prices for 10 vaccines in the list, but this is only made available to Gavi-supported countries, as per agreement with pharma companies.

Countries that have reached or are approaching a per capita gross national income of $1,570 will have to pay the full cost of each vaccine, and many of them are expecting to see a large increase in funding needed to finance their immunization campaigns as Gavi starts to phase out support. Indonesia, for instance, which is now being touted an emerging donor, would need to spend an estimated $32.31 million by 2018 to continue full immunization coverage, a 1,547 percent increase from the $2 million it spent in vaccine co-financing in 2012.

MSF, which also does routine immunization campaigns in its emergency work, has been negotiating with big pharma companies for years to expand access to these lower-cost vaccines to all countries as well as relief organizations like them, which are also subject to vaccine market rates, under its Access Campaign. But after years of failed negotiations, the organization has decided to accept donations for a “limited supply” of PCV, the vaccine to fight pneumonia.

MSF argues “the serious delays in providing lifesaving vaccines for children living in crisis have forced MSF to make this pragmatic, though unsustainable, decision.”

François Servranckx, the group’s communications lead for Access Campaign, said the agreement is limited to only three years, and that despite the decision, they will continue to argue their cause to pharmaceutical companies and donor countries supporting Gavi.

Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
philanthropy, vaccines