LONDON (Reuters) - The cost of immunizing children in developing countries with a five-in-one vaccine is set to fall after a deal by an Indian supplier to slash the price it charges the GAVI global vaccines group.
The agreement between Biological E and the GAVI Alliance, which funds bulk-buy vaccination programs for poor nations, highlights the growing role of India's low-cost drugs sector in supplying products around the world.
India's staunch support for its generics sector has led to clashes with Western pharmaceutical companies, most recently following a high-profile defeat for Novartis in a cancer drug patent case this month.
GAVI said on Thursday that Biological E would sell the pentavalent shot for $1.19 per dose, compared to a 2012 weighted average price of $2.17, saving it up to $150 million over the next four years.
The five-in-one vaccine is the most widely used by GAVI. It protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib).
GAVI also buys the shot from Johnson & Johnson's Crucell, GlaxoSmithKline, LG Life Sciences and Serum Institute of India.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Mark Heinrich)