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Vaccine Price Transparency is a Step Towards Sustainable Access in Middle Income Countries

This article originally appeared in The BMJ. 

In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the vaccine product, price, and procurement initiative, now referred to as Market Information for Access to Vaccines (MI4A). This initiative aimed to improve vaccine price transparency and therefore support country immunization planning and budgeting, price negotiation, and, ultimately, improve access to vaccines. In 2018, the MI4A collated information from 151 countries into a single database. Of these countries, 65 entirely fund and procure their own vaccines, and 63 are middle income countries. The initiative aims also to provide information on procurement options, vaccine sources, and market dynamics.

In this article, MI4A describes how making better price, procurement, and product data available can improve availability of vaccines by giving countries a clearer picture of the vaccine market and pricing trends.

Key messages

  • Middle income countries have little financial support from donors for vaccine purchases and little vaccine price and market information, hampering their ability to negotiate equitable prices

  • Since 2014, WHO’s Market Information for Access to Vaccines (MI4A) database has provided middle income countries with much needed data on vaccine products, prices, and procurement

  • Greater price transparency is informing budget analysis, purchase choices, tendering strategies, adoption of new or improved procurement mechanisms, and may encourage vaccine manufacturers to articulate clearer pricing policies

  • MI4A also provides a global view of the vaccine markets that is being used for policy making, disease control strategies, and global market shaping

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