With Pricier Vaccines, Some Doctors Stop Offering Immunizations — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 7, 2014

With Pricier Vaccines, Some Doctors Stop Offering Immunizations

By Kelly Young

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD

Some vaccines have tripled in price over the past two decades, leading some pediatricians to stop offering them altogether, an idea that "is as unthinkable as a baker not selling bread," the New York Times reports.

In 1986, the five recommended vaccines cost $215. By 2014, these same vaccines cost $937. Moreover, eight new vaccines were added in the intervening years for an additional $1255.

Older vaccines have been revamped at higher prices, while newer vaccines, like the pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar 13, "have entered the market at once-unthinkable prices." Some physicians say they are losing money with every vaccination. A recent survey found that roughly 40% of doctors didn't offer all of the recommended childhood vaccines. Another survey found that a third of doctors are contemplating dropping vaccinations altogether.

This has left parents scrambling to find providers for immunizations. One Texas woman told the Times that she called 10 pediatricians before finding one that would vaccinate her son.

Reader Comments (4)

Ann Olsen, MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Private Office

In order to increase vaccination rates by getting Pediatricians to use more combination vaccines, new codes for vaccine administration to young children were introduced. This would compensate doctors more for the combo than for the single component vaccines. Some of my insurers refuse to pay for the additional codes and I have no recourse. So I have to consider using single components, with multiple injections just to break even on vaccine cost. In addition, while NY has an excellent free vaccines for children program, we cannot chose to use these vaccines if a child is insured by a company that doesn't reimburse enough to cover the cost.

ROGER FELIX Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice

This is getting ridiculous. The US has become the private preserve of the pharmaceutical companies. They are making billions here because nobody anywhere else will let them get away with it! And the sad part is, enough of our population believes so fervently in not allowing the government to regulate any industry in any way that it's probably going to stay this way.

Zbigniew Ciechanowdki Physician, Pediatrics/Adolescent Medicine, St Charles iL

Probably will have to drop vaccinations as well pretty soon
because of prices and insurance poor reimbursement.

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