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Appointment Of Drug Company To GAVI Board Draws Criticism From NGOs

The appointment of Dutch pharmaceutical company Crucell, recently acquired by Johnson & Johnson, to the board of the GAVI Alliance is “sparking concerns over conflicts of interest and demands for tougher competition to reduce prices,” the Financial Times reports. With nearly 60 percent of Crucell’s 2010 revenues coming from sales of its pentavalent vaccine to GAVI, the company’s appointment “has triggered criticism from non-governmental organisations as GAVI seeks to raise $3.7bn at a meeting in London next month, against a backdrop of concerns that the agency has not done enough to improve value for money and lower the price it pays for vaccines.”

According to the article, “GAVI stressed it had a strict conflicts of interest policy, with board members ‘recused’ from discussions and without access to documents on matters where there was a direct conflict. … All members of the board have conflicts, including UNICEF, which is the intermediary procuring nearly all the vaccines paid for by GAVI, the World Health Organisation, which receives funding to help its work, and countries including Rwanda and Ethiopia, which have received vaccine support” (Jack, 5/27).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.