Several Drug Makers Plan To Lower Prices Of Vaccines For GAVI Purchase

Several pharmaceutical companies have pledged to lower the prices of vaccines against childhood illnesses ahead of the GAVI Alliance conference in London next week, the Guardian reports (Quinn, 6/6). GlaxoSmithKline will reduce the price of its rotavirus vaccine, India-based firms Serum Institute and Panacea Biotec will lower the price of their pentavalent vaccines, and Merck will offer its rotavirus and human papillomavirus vaccines at a reduced cost, according to a GAVI press release (6/5).

“The agreements will help the alliance prevent an extra 4 million deaths by 2015 by rolling out new vaccines to tackle the main killers of children: pneumonia and diarrhea,” Bloomberg reports (Gatt/Gale, 6/5).

In an opinion piece in London’s Times newspaper, GSK CEO Andrew Witty “urged fellow drug companies to behave ‘in step with society’ and vowed the rotavirus vaccine price cut was ‘not a gimmick or one-off philanthropic gesture,’ according to Agence France-Presse. “We have to create a better and more sophisticated model, one that combines commercial success with long-term sustainable contributions. This is how we can help improve the health of people wherever they live,” he wrote, the news service reports (6/5).