GSK cuts vaccine price for refugees, bowing to pressure

A GlaxoSmithKline logo is seen outside one of its buildings in west London, February 6, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline is cutting the price charged for its pneumococcal vaccine when given to refugees, following complaints about the product’s “exorbitant” cost by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

The British drugmaker said on Monday it would provide Synflorix, which protects children against pneumonia and other diseases, at a discounted price of $3.05 per dose to recognized civil society organizations.

In Greece, MSF said it had been forced to pay 50 pounds ($65) a dose in local pharmacies in order to vaccinate thousands of refugee children fleeing from conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

GSK said its offer was made on the basis that others would not seek to reference the special price, which is intended solely to support refugee populations.

Previously, the low price of $3.05 price has only been available to the world’s poorest countries.

Pfizer also makes a pneumococcal vaccine called Prevnar. The U.S. company had no immediate comment on its pricing plans.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by William Hardy