Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières has called on pharmaceutical companies to cut the price of children's vaccines and to reform the way they are produced and sold.

A report from the group says the most common set of child vaccinations is now 68 times as expensive as it was in 2001.

MSF said high prices for new vaccines could put developing countries in the precarious situation of not being able to afford to fully vaccinate their children in the future. 

In particular it targets the high cost of pneumococcal vaccine, a treatment which it says has earned large revenues for its two manufacturers.

MSF is urging GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer to reduce the pneumococcal vaccine price to $5 per child, which is slightly less than the $6 price target announced by the Indian manufacturer Serum Institute for a version it plans to bring to market in the next few years.     

"We have an irrational situation where some developing countries like Morocco and Tunisia are paying more for the pneumococcal vaccine than France does," said Kate Elder, Vaccines Policy Advisor for MSF's Access Campaign.

"Because of the astronomical cost of new vaccines, many governments are facing tough choices about which deadly diseases they can afford to protect their children against." 

GSK said that any further cut in price would undermine the economics of production and threaten long term supplies to poor countries.