Vaccine Costs Rising, Some Doctors Stop Offering Them

Childhood immunization costs are skyrocketing: NYT
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2014 7:44 AM CDT
Updated Jul 3, 2014 7:52 AM CDT
Vaccine Costs Rising, Some Doctors Stop Offering Them
In this April 20, 2012, file photo, Holly Ann Haley, 4, gets two vaccinations at the doctor's office in Berlin, Vt.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

When Breanna Farris moved to Texas last year, her daughter missed the first week of school as Farris searched in vain for a provider who would give her the required vaccinations. Farris ultimately had to lie, pretending she had no insurance and taking the girl to a public health clinic, before finally finding a doctor this year to immunize her son. More and more doctors are refusing to offer vaccinations, the New York Times explains in an extensive report, because over the last 20 years, vaccine prices "have gone from single digits to sometimes triple digits"—and thanks to poor insurance reimbursement schedules, doctors say they often actually lose money on them.

While some of the price increase is justified—some childhood immunizations have been reformulated, and vaccine trials must be far larger these days—often drugmakers appear to have simply raised prices because they know these vaccines are required (and mandated by ObamaCare to be covered at no out-of-pocket expense). Prevnar, for example, which protects against illnesses caused by pneumococcal bacteria, has increased by an average of 6% per year even though no changes have been made; in Singapore, its price rose from $80 to $120 after it was added into the required national schedule, though "nothing had changed," says one researcher. And because some companies require physicians to agree not to disclose the price they're paying, there can be large price variations for the same drug, with large group practices more likely to make money on vaccines while individual practices suffer. Click for the full article. (Or read the latest study finding no link between vaccines and autism.)

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