COVID-19 Vaccines Pricing Policy Options for Low-Income and Middle-Income Countries
The COVID-19 pandemic limits pricing policy options for vaccines. It is therefore necessary to consider what appropriate policy options governments can use to ensure affordable and equitable access to these novel products. Commonly used policies such as fostering competition, generic substitution, and external and internal reference pricing will not work for novel vaccines. The rapid pace of vaccine development and the lack of historic safety, efficacy and pricing data make it difficult for governments to make informed procurement decisions to ensure equitable and affordable access. Transparent priority setting mechanisms for reviewing the evidence, measuring costs and benefits will be critical for evidence-based comparisons between vaccines, and between vaccines and other COVID-19 interventions. Low-income and middle-income countries and the donor community can leverage joint procurement mechanisms and voluntary or compulsory licensing agreements as policy options for equitable and affordable access. One potential target for advocacy is the deduction of government research and development subsidies for COVID-19 vaccine development.