Volume 34, Issue 39, Pages 4643-4762 (7 September 2016)
Trends in childhood vaccine purchase costs in the US public sector: 1996–2014
Original Research Article
Weiwei Chen, Mark Messonnier, Fangjun Zhou
While vaccination remains as one of the most cost-effective preventive strategies, the cost of fully immunizing a child has grown considerably over the last few decades. This study examines trends in non-influenza childhood vaccine purchase costs in the public sector from 1996 to 2014. Non-influenza vaccine purchase cost per child for children aged 0 through 18 years was calculated based on public-sector purchase prices. Purchase cost changes were then decomposed into changes attributable to recommendation updates and changes attributable to price variation. The study analyzed the growth rate of combination vaccine prices separately and compared these prices with the sum of prices of component vaccines. It is found that the average annual growth rate of non-influenza vaccine purchase cost per child during 1996–2014 was 12.6%. The growth rate attributable to price changes was 1.0% on average. Combination vaccine prices showed greater variation. The study concludes that vaccine price variation was one but a minor reason for purchase cost changes. Recommendation updates, particularly the introduction of new vaccines, played a much larger role in raising the purchase costs. If the 12.6% annual growth rate found during 1996–2014 in the study continues to apply, the purchase costs of childhood vaccines may more than double by 2020.