Indian drugmakers Serum Institute and Panacea Biotech have reduced what they charge the GAVI for vaccines, prompting similar commitments from several Big Pharma firm.
According to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) the two firms have cut the price of pentavalent vaccines, which protect against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b.
Specifically, Serum has reduced what it charges the organisation per dose to $1.75 and Panacea has cut its price by 15 per cent. Both companies have committed to encouraging other manufacturers to follow their lead.
The GAVI said: “The price reductions illustrate the key role of emerging market suppliers as new global players, contributing to both innovation and increasing competitiveness in the market place.”
And, this plan seems to be paying off with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and US firm Merck & Co have cut what they charge the GAVI and its partner UNICEF for various vaccines.
GSK' CEO Andrew Witty told the BBC that: “What we need is a return to invest in the next generation of new vaccines and drugs and that has to come from the profits of the medicines or the vaccines but it's obvious that if you're in Kenya or a slum in Malawi or somewhere like that, there is no capacity for those people to contribute to it, so they have to be helped out by the contribution from the middle and the richer countries."
Additionally Crucell and Sanofi Pasteur have agreed to extend GAVI prices on their pentavalent vaccines to the 16 countries currently expected to graduate from GAVI support.
Sanofi Pasteur has also confirmed that this will apply to its yellow fever vaccine and the rotavirus vaccine being developed by its India-based subsidiary Shantha.
The GAVI will hold its first ‘Pledging conference’ on June 13 in London a bid to gain similar commitments from global drug manufacturers as part of an effort to raise money to vaccine 250m vulnerable children and infants by 2016.