GlaxoSmithKline could reach deal with UK over price of meningitis B vaccine Bexsero "very soon"

GlaxoSmithKline says it is "committed to reaching a rapid conclusion to negotiations" with the UK Department of Health regarding the cost of its meningococcal serogroup B (MenB) vaccine Bexsero, with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt saying he has spoken with CEO Andrew Witty in the past week and hopes to reach an agreement "very soon." Company spokeswoman Catherine Hartley stated that "we are confident our proposal, which is significantly below the list price, offers fair value for the NHS."

The health department has said it would follow recommendations by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to introduce Bexsero into the childhood vaccination programme for infants from two months of age. GlaxoSmithKline only recently acquired the vaccine business from Novartis, excluding influenza vaccines, as part of a three-way asset swap announced last year.

However, a disagreement over a "cost-effective" price for Bexsero has hampered its widespread rollout in the UK. The cost for the vaccine is listed at 75 pounds ($112) per dose, while the health secretary recently suggested "the right price is around 5 pounds ($7) a dose." He said the government had been in a "deadlock" on the pricing issue, but noted that GlaxoSmithKline has "moved substantially" from Novartis' stance on the matter.

Novartis recently indicated that Bexsero is authorised in 37 countries, including the US, Canada and Australia, as well as the EU, to help protect against invasive meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B.

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