I hope everyone had a chance to see LNCT’s newest blog describing the main takeaways from the first ever joint LNCT and UNICEF VPPN regional workshop on Vaccine Procurement in Tbilisi. If not, you can find it by clicking here.
During the workshop, a number of countries mentioned that they are not getting enough responses to their call for tenders from vaccine manufacturers. They end up with the same supplier and often a high price.
This situation is due to multiple factors. The main issue is the low global supply of certain products (e.g., DTP, MCV, inactivated polio vaccine [IPV]), but other factors include low cohort size or lack of knowledge about the vaccine market. In a context of limited vaccine supply capacity and competition, manufacturers may tend to favor developed-country markets and large contracts, possibly at the expense of self-procured products in countries with low cohort size or low health spending and financial capacity.
It was also mentioned that countries’ laws and procedures for public procurement may be creating additional hurdles and are not always adapted to the vaccine market context:
Countries’ laws for public procurement may require the following:
1. Products be used in the routine programme of the country of origin of production
2. Products be registered in the country prior to any response to international calls for tender
3. Producers have a permanent representative in the country
4. Suppliers pay high registration fees
5. Suppliers import and deliver the product up to the district level
6. Suppliers deliver all vaccines used in the National Immunization Programme
7. Payments be in local currency
8. All documentation be exclusively or also in the country’s language
9. Manufacturers train local personnel
10. Manufacturers contribute to cold chain expansion or maintenance
11. Manufacturers work with a local government-appointed private agent
12. Manufacturers’ facilities are visited before any response to an international call for tender
I would like to invite you to discuss whether these provisions exist in your country and why, and to assess whether all of them are justified and serving the purpose of ensuring an uninterrupted supply of quality vaccines at affordable prices.