Pfizer slashes price of pneumonia vaccine for NGOs working in humanitarian crises

By Sophie Edwards 18 November 2016

A health worker administers pneumonia vaccine to a child. Photo by: Lemma / UNICEF Ethiopia / CC BY-NC-ND

U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is to offer its pneumonia vaccine at a much lower price to NGOs working on humanitarian crises.  

The drug company said a new multidose version of its Prevenar 13 vaccine will be available at $3.10 per dose, the “lowest prevailing global” price, to select groups working in emergency settings, starting early next year. In the meantime, Pfizer will offer free single-dose vials of the drug to NGOs to address immediate needs for the vaccine in disaster settings.

Pneumonia killed 920,000 children worldwide in 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

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MSF hopes to pressure Pfizer to join GlaxoSmithKline in lowering the price of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for middle- and upper-income countries, where it is often unaffordable.

Prevenar 13 is the most widely used pneumonia vaccine in the world and was approved by the European Union in 2009 to help protect infants and young children from the pneumococcal disease.

Pfizer also announced it will donate all sales proceeds for the first year of the program to humanitarian groups, according to a company press release.

The move comes a month after Médecins Sans Frontières rejected an offer of free vaccines from Pfizer saying they preferred to find a “sustainable and long-term” solution for acquiring the drug through discounted pricing, as Devex reported.

MSF has been campaigning to get Pfizer and also the London pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline to lower their prices. In September, GlaxoSmithKline announced it would discount the price for its pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.

Jason Cone, executive director of MSF said: “This is definitely a step in the right direction and will help to protect millions of vulnerable children around the world and in MSF projects.”

“We now hope that Pfizer will extend its efforts to developing countries by offering a lower price to all governments which still can’t afford to protect their children against pneumonia.” He added.

Susan Silbermann, president and general manager, Pfizer Vaccines, said: “Pfizer is proud of the significant impact that our Prevenar 13 vaccine and our partnerships with many humanitarian organizations have had on public health across the globe.”

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About the author

Edwards sopie
Sophie Edwards

Sophie Edwards is a reporter for Devex based out of Washington D.C. and London where she covers global development news, careers and lifestyle issues. She has previously worked for NGOs, the World Bank and spent a number of years as a journalist for a regional newspaper in the U.K. She has an MA from the Institute of Development Studies and a BA from Cambridge University.


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