5 Reasons Why You Should Support #ASKPHARMA Campaign

5 Reasons Why You Should Support #ASKPHARMA Campaign

I can still remember when my twins got vaccinated and I need to shoulder the expensive vaccines. There was no available vaccines at our Health Center that time. Though it was expensive (and I need to pay double) I never thought twice because I knew that it will benefit my twins. 

5 Reasons Why You Should Support #ASKPHARMA Campaign
Doctors Without Borders Philippines Image/Mommies of Mommy Bloggers Philippines

So I was eager to know more about the campaign from MSF to lower the Pneumonia vaccines. It was really important especially for moms like me and for others who can't afford to have PCV vaccines. Together with Mommy Bloggers Philippines, we had a Knowledge Sharing last weekend for how affordable vaccines can save children from preventable diseases. The campaign is about asking the big companies like Pfizer & GSK to lower the amount of PCV vaccines to $5 (P250) for three doses. 

5 Reasons Why You Should Support #ASKPHARMA Campaign
Doctors Without Borders Philippines Image

Pneumonia is an acute respiratory affecting the lungs and it is one of the diseases caused by S. pneumonia bacteria or pneumococcus. There are 1.1 million children under 5 years old die pneumonia every year and the Philippines is one of 15 countries that together account for 75% of childhood pneumonia cases worldwide. But Pneumonia is treatable, curable and preventable and one of the best precautions is taking the PCV vaccines. 

According to DOH data, this is the 2016 price offered for the PCV:

Vial: US$15.37 per dose (PHP2,153.00 for 3 doses)
Pre-filled Syringe: US$14.99 per dose  (PHP2,100.01 for 3 doses) 

Vial: US$ 14.12 per dose (PhP1978.21 for 3 doses)
Pre-filled Syringe: US$ 14.50 per dose  (PhP2,031.45 for 3 doses)

 Here in the Philippines, PCV is given for FREE in government health centers except NCR, IV-A and IV-B. The Philippines is not GAVI eligible country. The country is under the Middle-Income Country category.

5 Reasons Why You Should Support #ASKPHARMA Campaign
Doctors Without Borders Philippines Image/ Dr. Kitts Sarte sharing more information about the campaign

In line with this, here are the 
5 Reasons Why You Should Support #ASKPHARMA Campaign
(From the handouts)

• The cost to vaccinate a child is too expensive! 

MSF is campaigning for lower vaccine prices. The cost to vaccinate a child has increased dramatically in recent years: many countries struggle to absorb the rising costs, while others can’t afford to introduce certain vaccines. For example, parents in Indonesia and the Philippines are paying around $150 to $300 for pneumonia vaccines (retail/private), this is unaffordable for many families. Affordable vaccine pricing would allow us to vaccinate more kids. 

What we ultimately want is for Pfizer and GSK to lower the price of the pneumonia vaccine to $5 per child for all developing countries (for three doses, required for full vaccination).

•Your voice makes a difference.

A collective voice of concerned supporters and patients can make a difference. We’ve done this before and we know this would work with your support. For example, take MSF’s experience in bringing down the price of HIV/AIDS treatment from $10,000 to $100 per year. 

Now we’re asking you to help increase pressure on Pfizer and GSK, the only two companies that make the pneumonia vaccine, to make prices more transparent and affordable for developing countries. 

At the very least, the prices that countries pay for the pneumonia vaccine should be public information; we want countries to have the information necessary to be able to negotiate better prices, and humanitarian agencies to be able to access the vaccine at $5 per child.

•$5 is a reasonable price for pneumonia vaccine.

We looked at all the information publicly available regarding the cost to make the vaccine to determine an affordable and viable price point. 

Vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India has publicly stated that it will sell the vaccine for $6 per child (for all three doses) when it brings its version of the vaccine to market in several years’ time. 

In 2013, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, released an evaluation that concluded the price it pays for the pneumonia vaccine is likely well above the cost to make the vaccine. In the meantime, Pfizer and GSK have already reaped more than $25 billion in sales for this vaccine since over the past five years, the majority from sales in wealthy countries.

Pharma companies should not take advantage of poor people.

MSF doesn’t believe life-saving vaccines should be sold for huge profits in developing countries. Companies must do their part to reduce vaccine prices and lower the overall cost to immunize a child. 

Today even at the lowest global price for the poorest countries, it costs 68 times more to vaccinate a child than it did in 2001. Nearly half of that increase is due to the high price of the pneumonia vaccine alone. Pfizer and GSK have collectively reported more than US$ 25 billion in global sales from this vaccine.

•Price transparency is every country’s right.

In order to negotiate better vaccine prices, countries need to know the prices all countries are paying for vaccines. 

After years of negotiation with Pfizer and GSK, we are still unable to unlock the information on vaccine pricing that is very much needed by health ministries, healthcare providers and humanitarian actors. Hence, the differential pricing from one country to another. 

It’s about time that we, through collective action as concerned citizens of the world, ask for a more transparent and affordable vaccine pricing so that all countries can get a better deal and afford to protect their children against pneumonia.

Help Doctors Without Borders/MSF #AskPharma to lower the price of the pneumonia vaccine to $5 (P250) for three doses. SIGN THE PETITION NOW: http://www.afairshot.org/#phil

Let's give every country #AFairShot at protecting the lives of their children.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. We offer assistance to people based on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.
MSF was founded in Paris, France in 1971. Today, MSF is a worldwide movement of 24 associations, bound together as MSF International, based in Switzerland. Thousands of health professionals, logistical and administrative staff – most of whom are hired locally – work on programmes in some 70 countries worldwide. About 90 percent of MSF’s funding comes from over 5 million donors worldwide. 
MSF was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 “in recognition of the organization's pioneering humanitarian work on several continents.”

In 1999, MSF started the Access Campaign aiming to increase access to – and the development of – affordable, practical and effective drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests for diseases that affect people in places where we work. 
We are a multi-disciplinary team that includes doctors, pharmacists, scientists, lawyers, as well as advocacy and communications experts. The MSF Access Campaign works with patient groups and other civil society organisations to identify and campaign against trade and drug company policies that could harm access to affordable, life-saving medicines.

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