UNICEF Reveals Vaccine Costs

By: LINDA A. JOHNSON - AP Business Writer
By: LINDA A. JOHNSON - AP Business Writer

UNICEF is for the first time publicizing what drugmakers charge it for vaccines, as the world's biggest buyer of lifesaving immunizations aims to spark price competition in the face of rising costs.

On Friday, UNICEF posted on its Website the actual prices that it has paid individual drugmakers for 16 vaccines purchased over the last decade. It's a move that a few Western pharmaceutical companies don't support. Novartis AG and Merck & Co., which only sells one of its many children's vaccines to UNICEF, both declined to have their prices published.

UNICEF says it will continue to disclose pricing of future vaccine deals, with the hope that the transparency will push drugmakers to cut prices and thus allow the organization to vaccinate more children and save more lives.

UNICEF last year spent $757 million to provide 2.5 billion doses of vaccines to 99 countries, reaching an estimated 58 percent of the world's children.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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