Catch 22: reducing vaccine prices may cause more death in poor countries

January 29, 2015 12:41 am 

MOSCOW, Jan. 28 — Campaigners pushing for reduced vaccines prices could deter pharmaceutical companies from developing products that could save lives in poor countries, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates told the Guardian newspaper Tuesday.

"This general thing where organisations come out and say, "hey, why don't vaccines cost zero?" – all that does is that you have some pharma companies that choose never to do medicines for poor countries because they know that this always just becomes a source of criticism," Gates, also US' richest person, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Gates comments follow a major international conference held in Berlin Tuesday on the mobilization of immunization programs.

Donors at the Gavi Pledging Conference, under the leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, committed more than 7 billion US dlrs over the next five years, for vaccines for some 5 to 6 million people in the world's poorest countries.

One of the main vaccines to be distributed is a new pneumococcal vaccine manufactured by only two pharmaceutical giants, the UK"s GlaxoSmithKline and America's Pfizer.

Meanwhile, health activists and doctors from Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) are demanding that the two giant companies lower the price of the pneumococcal vaccine to under 5 US dlrs per child, because it is unaffordable for the governments of poor and developing countries. (PNA/Sputnik)



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