A PHS 795 student came across an interesting blog post at Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders):
Why Médecins Sans Frontières rejected Pfizer’s 1 Million Free Pneumonia Vaccine
It is quite stunning how Pfizer offered 1 million free vaccine to MSF but it rejected every one of it. But, why?????? Apparently, these doctors are well-awared of the fact that there is no free lunch in reality and that the price will be on the rest of the world–who make purchase of the vaccines. As most of you would agree, it is never an easy decision to prioritize one over another in public health. Of course there is no right or wrong but it sure leads to the ultimate question of who should live (instead of whom). MSF does have a fair point in that free vaccine will lead to higher price which is looking ahead to the future; while there are countless people dying at this very moment.
In the meantime, I would like to point out what Gavi, an international organization – a global Vaccine Alliance created in 2000, does in this context. There has been a set of global efforts involving various stakeholders, in the name of Gavi, that brings together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries. (Yeah, it’s from the website…..) Besides providing vaccines to the needed, it works closely with pharmaceutical industry to provide vaccines more quickly and at prices far lower than in developed countries. (Check out their website if interested: http://www.gavi.org)
Instead of a report from the media, I am suggesting the blog posting by Jason Cone, the Executive Director of MSF in the U.S. where he gave a thorough reason to the rejection.