Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Most Chinese unwilling to pay for vaccines

by Michael Woodhead
Most Chinese people are unwilling to pay for vaccines to prevent common infections such as influenza and pneumonia, a study has found.
In a survey of more than 2600 people in three provinces, researchers from the China Center for Health Development Studies, Peking University asked whether people would be willing to pay the market price for influenza vaccine that costs 80 yuan ($12) and for a course of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that costs 860 yuan ($138). Only 8% of people surveyed said they would pay for pneumococcal vaccine while 45% said they were willing to pay for influenza vaccine. The average price people were willing to pay was 60 yuan for influenza vaccine and 200 yuan for pneumococcal vaccine, according to the study in Vaccine.
Put another way, the number of people willing to have pneumococcal vaccine would increase from 8% to 25% if the price reduced from 860 to 400 yuan. The demand for influenza vaccine would increase from 45% to 70% if the price reduced from 80 to 40 yuan.
The researchers said the widespread unwillingness to pay for vaccines reflected their high price in China and the lack of any government subsidy. They said profit mark-ups on vaccines mark ups were high in China (as much as 43%) and they generally cost much more than in other countries.
"Our results suggest that both innovative vaccine pricing mechanism and expansion of financing sources are needed to alleviate economic barriers to self-paid vaccines," they concluded.

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