Indian Drug Supplier Cuts Price Of 5-In-1 Childhood Vaccine For GAVI Alliance; Groups Highlight World Immunization Week

“The cost of immunizing children in developing countries with a five-in-one vaccine is set to fall after a deal by an Indian supplier to slash the price it charges the GAVI global vaccines group,” Reuters reports. “GAVI said on Thursday that Biological E would sell the pentavalent shot for $1.19 per dose, compared to a 2012 weighted average price of $2.17, saving it up to $150 million over the next four years,” the news service writes, noting the five-in-one vaccine “protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib).” The news service adds, “The agreement between Biological E and the GAVI Alliance, which funds bulk-buy vaccination programs for poor nations, highlights the growing role of India’s low-cost drugs sector in supplying products around the world,” noting, “India’s staunch support for its generics sector has led to clashes with Western pharmaceutical companies, most recently following a high-profiledefeat for Novartis in a cancer drug patent case this month” (Hirschler, 4/17).

In similar news, a joint press release from the WHO, UNICEF, the GAVI Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation notes that, in advance of World Immunization Week, which begins April 20, “global experts are highlighting strategies to further advance progress on the Global Vaccine Action Plan that was endorsed by the World Health Assembly, 2012.” According to the press release, “Better supply and logistics systems are essential to reach the estimated 22 million children in developing countries who are still not protected from dangerous diseases with basic vaccines, according to a special immunization issue published today by Vaccine.” The press release adds, “Articles in the special supplement also underline the need to improve understanding about the health benefits of immunization” (4/18).