Vaccine purchasing groups in the United States: An overview of their policies and practices

Anne E. Cowan, Sarah J. Clark, Jennifer L. Gordon, Karin Bok, Angela K. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Vaccine purchasing groups (VPGs) may help reduce the upfront cost of vaccines. The objective of this study was to describe key business practices of VPGs in the United States. Methods Semi-structured, qualitative telephone interviews were conducted with representatives from 11 VPGs, based on a sampling frame of 53 VPGs. Interviews were transcribed and summarized by topic. Results Characteristics of the 11 VPGs interviewed reflect the broader VPG population: 64% national vs 36% regional; 8% charge a membership fee; membership ranging from 40 to over 300,000 sites. VPGs establish agreements with vaccine manufacturers, typically with either GlaxoSmithKline or Merck and Sanofi Pasteur; 1 VPG reported a single-product (Trumenba) agreement with Pfizer. VPG agreements specify “product loyalty” benchmarks (proportion of that manufacturer's product line) that the VPG and its members must meet to receive discounted vaccine pricing. The amount of discount is considered proprietary. Practices may actively participate with only one VPG; the member discount is automatically applied by the manufacturer at the time of ordering. Vaccine manufacturers monitor sales data to ensure compliance with product loyalty terms; practices that do not meet benchmarks may be removed from the VPG. VPGs are paid administration fees by the manufacturers. VPGs use these fees to cover their operating expenses and often rebate a portion of these fees back to their members. All 11 VPGs offer additional services to members, ranging from immunization-focused education and technical assistance to discounts on a broad range of medical and business supplies. Conclusions VPGs can facilitate access to reduced purchase prices for most vaccines routinely recommended in the United States. Data on the magnitude of the price reductions were not publicly available. VPG members must balance loyalty-based price reductions against considerations of having a wider choice of vaccine products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5060-5065
Number of pages6
Issue number42
StatePublished - Sep 30 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Buying group
  • Group purchasing organization
  • Purchasing group
  • Vaccine financing
  • Vaccine purchase
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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