Current Global Pricing For Human Papillomavirus Vaccines Brings The Greatest Economic Benefits To Rich Countries
Author: Niamh Herlihy, Raymond Hutubessy, Mark Jit
Vaccinating females against human papillomavirus (HPV) prior to the debut of sexual activity is an effective way to prevent cervical cancer, yet vaccine uptake in low- and middle-income countries has been hindered by high vaccine prices. We created an economic model to estimate the distribution of the economic surplus—the sum of all health and economic benefits of a vaccine, minus the costs of development, production, and distribution—among different country income groups and manufacturers for a cohort of twelve-year-old females in 2012. We found that manufacturers may have received economic returns worth five times their original investment in HPV vaccine development. High-income countries gained the greatest economic surplus of any income category, realizing over five times more economic value per vaccinated female than low-income countries did. Subsidizing vaccine prices in low- and middle-income countries could both reduce financial barriers to vaccine adoption and still allow high-income countries to retain their economic surpluses and manufacturers to retain their profits.