After years of protesting against Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline’s pneumococcal vaccine pricing, Médecins Sans Frontières is empowering pharma investors to get involved.
On Thursday, the international charity will roll out an online platform dubbed “Your stock, your voice” aimed at letting people track whether they hold shares in either drugmaker. Then, people can use their voice to “demand some changes from Pfizer and GSK to ask them to lower the price of the pneumonia vaccine,” Vivian Peng, MSF vaccines campaign communications officer, told FiercePharma.
“A lot of people in the U.S. put money away in their retirement funds and their savings and don’t really know where their money goes,” Peng said. “If you can see where your money is going, you have this hidden power to make your voice heard.”
At the website, investors will be able to enter the name of their mutual funds to determine whether they own any Pfizer or GSK stock. Peng said MSF is hoping to transition people from being "passive investors to active investors."
The launch comes a month after MSF hosted a “hackathon” in New York City to bring together designers and developers to build the platform. It’s the latest in a years-long effort by the group to get Pfizer and GSK to lower their pneumococcal vaccine prices to $5 per child for all three doses.
Along the way, MSF has seen incremental victories, as Pfizer and GSK have both boosted their humanitarian support in the last year.
Back in November, Pfizer pledged to lower the price of its Prevnar 13 to $3.10 per dose in humanitarian emergencies. The drugmaker also committed to short-term donations of doses and sales proceeds from the program, and is rolling out a multidose vial that contains four doses in the same size container.
GSK, for its part, said in September it’d lower the price of Synflorix to $3.05 per dose for humanitarian emergencies.
However, both moves came short of MSF’s requests, and the group continues to take to social media to put pressure on the drugmakers. On Valentine’s Day, for instance, it launched a Twitter and Facebook campaign pressing for lower prices.
MSF’s platform launch comes shortly after the Access to Medicine Index presented its first Access to Vaccines report, detailing the strides that have been made—and work left to do—in vaccine access around the globe.
About 1 million children die from pneumonia each year around the world.