Meningococcal vaccine prices

04/04/2018 17:04

The Consumer Council of Fiji is acutely aware of the high prices of Meningococcal vaccines sold in pharmacies around the country and has conducted a snap survey to help consumers make informed decisions.

There are two types of vaccines – monovalent and quadrivalent. Monovalent vaccine is to immunize against a single antigen while quadrivalent vaccine protects against four strains of the disease.

There are three brands of the quadrivalent vaccine available for retail in the 20 pharmacies surveyed. These are Menactra, Menveo and Nimenrix.

The survey showed the cheapest prices of vaccines was available in the Western Division with Pharmatech Ltd in Ba selling Nimenrix at $180. Prices of the vaccine available in the Western Division ranged from $180-$365.

In Labasa, the Council noted some pharmacies were charging additional costs for freight. Such was the case of My Chemist pharmacy which sells the vaccine for $255, with an additional freight charge.

In light of this the Council urges consumers in Labasa to question whether the vaccine price is inclusive of freight, before finalising purchase. Generally the price of vaccine ranged from $245 - $255.

The Survey also found that pharmacies in the Suva-Nausori corridor were the most expensive. The vaccines were generally sold from $240-$245. Amy Street Pharmacy in Suva sold the vaccine at the lowest price for $195 while Tappoo Chemist sold the vaccine at the highest price of $325.

During the survey the Council noted that majority of pharmacies had the vaccine out of stock and only supplied when an order was placed.

Further to this there were four local wholesalers identified in the Western Division supplying stocks of the vaccine to most pharmacies across the country. The Council is also appalled to note that retail pharmacies are making as much as 70-80 per cent profit from the vaccine sales with no consideration of the severity of the disease and its impacts on consumers. The price hike places the product out of reach for average consumers.

In light of the survey the Council urges consumers to conduct comparative shopping to ensure that they are getting the vaccine at the best deal possible.