UNICEF promotes vaccine pricing transparency 

UNICEF promotes vaccine pricing transparency

Nurse Emmanuel Kalwazi fills a syringe with tetanus toxoid vaccine, which he will administer to a pregnant woman in Mukanga-Moke Village, Katanga Province. © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0396crop/Asselin.

UNICEF is improving transparency around vaccine supply by making vaccine prices available on its website. As the largest buyer of children’s vaccines, this move is in line with UNICEF’s commitment to ensure that vaccine supply is sustainable and affordable. UNICEF’s partners in immunisation welcome the positive development.

Information on market dynamics that influence vaccine uptake will be more publicly available, starting with prices at which companies sell vaccines to UNICEF. “Transparency is a core principle in itself and will support governments and partners in making more informed decisions,” said Shanelle Hall, Director of Supply Division, UNICEF. “Transparency will also help foster a competitive, diverse supplier base for global public goods.”

Partners promoting vaccine affordability and availability agree that pricing is a multi-dimensional strategy. To reach the lowest prices, interventions must address supply and demand-side factors and risks. Transparency, along with strategic oversight of the vaccine market and prices, suggests that more children would have access to a wider range of vaccines, improving child survival.

“As the main funder of vaccines procured by UNICEF, the GAVI Alliance strongly believes in timely, transparent and accurate information on pricing,” said Helen Evans, Interim CEO of the GAVI Alliance. “Transparency of pricing enhances partners and countries’ understanding of market dynamics, leading to better visibility of how their financial commitments translate into the number of children vaccinated and lives saved. The GAVI Alliance is committed to ensure that the right vaccines are available in the right quantities and at affordable prices so we can save more lives with the resources available.”

“Improved transparency on pricing is coming at a critical time, especially as vaccines against pneumonia and diarrhoea are being made available. The approach will soon be extended to other vaccine market dynamic factors, and other health products that are essential to child survival.” added Ms Hall.

UNICEF undertook a consultation with all suppliers to ensure understanding and acceptance of the new policy prior to publishing vaccine prices online.  All recent and future tenders include a clause that enables UNICEF to make awarded vaccine prices publicly available, in addition to pricing and contracting information already in the public domain on UNICEF’s website.

The procurement of vaccines is UNICEF’s largest procurement activity, worth USD 757 million in 2010. Last year, UNICEF provided 2.5 billion doses of vaccines to 99 countries, reaching an estimated 58 per cent of the world’s children.

For latest on vaccine pricing, please visit: http://www.unicef.org/supply/index_57476.html

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