In a controversial move, Merck is rolling back its commitment to provide a life-saving rotavirus vaccine to parts of West Africa at the same time the drug maker is ramping up supplies to China, where the product would reportedly be sold for a much higher price.
The company supplies its RotaTeq vaccine through an arrangement with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private partnership that helps provide medicines and vaccines to low-income countries. However, Merck is reducing shipments by one-third this year and next, according to GAVI. After that, supplies are not expected. About 4.7 million doses will be delivered this year and 4 million next year.