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Those big companies are looking to less-developed countries for future sales growth, and vaccines against crippling and deadly childhood diseases are cost-effective purchases for countries with small health budgets.

AIDS groups and advocates for affordable health care in developing countries have campaigned for years for big pharmaceutical companies to sell their patented medicines to those countries at drastically reduced prices, or to allow generic drug makers in countries such as India to do so. They’ve had some success, so UNICEF’s new price plan is a logical strategy.

UNICEF’s Hall said the organization hopes to expand the transparency initiative to other essential products that it buys for children. UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, and quality basic education for boys and girls across the globe.