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Greece: Médecins Sans Frontières Asks Pfizer and GSK to Reduce Exorbitant Price of Vaccines for Refugee Children

MSF vaccines for childrenOver the past few weeks, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has vaccinated over 5,000 refugee children from the age of six months to 15 years in camps and settlements in Greece.
MSF has once again denounced the high-price that governments and non-governmental organizations are required to pay for the vaccines that children require.
MSF says that the recent vaccinations will protect refugee children against ten diseases, including pneumonia, which is an illness that remains the single largest killer of children under five-years-old worldwide.
According to an article on their website, msg.org, MSF has once again called on pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline to drop the price of the pneumonia vaccine for governments and humanitarian organizations in emergency contexts, such as the refugee crisis in Greece.
MSF has been trying to negotiate a better price for over six years with the only producers of the vaccines, Pfizer and GSK. So far, the pharmaceutical companies refuse to reduce the price.
According to their website, as recently as May, MSF obtained more than 416,000 people’s signatures from 170 countries on a petition that specifically asked Pfizer and GSK to “reduce the price of the pneumonia vaccine to $5 dollars per child (for all three doses) for crisis-affected populations and for all developing countries,” as the need to vaccinate children from life-threatening diseases in crisis situations is at a peak, particularly in Greece.
MSF currently has seen prices as high as 60 euros per dose for the pneumonia vaccine, a price which is 20 times more expensive than the lowest global price of the vaccine which is priced at about 2.80 euros per dose.
Despite desperate situations and the threat of disease due to the refugee crisis, MSF is not able to purchase the pneumonia vaccine at the lowest global price as it is only available to the world’s poorest countries through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Other vaccines that help protect the refugee children against six different diseases is also purchased at the high price of 65 euros per dose.
“Governments and humanitarian organizations need tools to protect children living through one of the biggest crises of our times,” Dr. Apostolos Veizis, Director of MSF’s Medical Operational Support Unit in Greece said to MSF. “Pfizer and GSK must drop the price of the pneumonia vaccine.”
“With the collapse of the healthcare systems in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, most children living in the camps and outside have not been immunized in their country or during the journey. These kids are living in horrendous conditions and should not pay the price of fleeing for their lives with their health. We have to protect them at all cost against pneumonia and other deadly diseases,” Veizis added.

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