What makes a fair price for both buyers and sellers?

Public perceptions of fairness matter. Unfair treatment erodes trust.

The global race for a COVID-19 vaccine has raised the question - can affordability and innovation coexist for medicines? The current distribution and stockpiling of vaccine doses has exposed a worrying gap between the promise of medical innovation and affordable access for all.

Politicians, patients, experts, and executives; all have debated whether medicines prices are fair without agreeing on what 'fairness' means. There is no standard definition of a 'fair price' for medicines.

This article via BMJ tackles several key factors that reasonably shape views of fairness in medicines prices, considering the perspectives of both sellers and buyers. The authors combine these factors into a framework in which a 'fair pricing zone' lies between a price floor and ceiling. The floor-price aims to incentivize innovation and maintain competition. The ceiling-price is the maximum a buyer can afford.

Pricing outside the fair pricing zone merits public action.