The governments of Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, and Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announce the first long-term agreements made by pharmaceutical firms to provide increased access to medicine by supplying new, affordable vaccines against pneumococcal disease to the worlds poorest countries.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer Inc. were the first companies to agree to supply pneumococcal vaccines through the Advance Market Commitment (AMC). These vaccines may be available as early as this year at a fraction of the price charged in industrialized countries.
“We welcome GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer Inc. as AMC-supplier(s) and hope that more suppliers will join in soon, in particular emerging vaccine manufacturers from developing countries” expressed Paul Fife, Norway Head of Department.
The AMC was created to stimulate the development, manufacture, and uptake of affordable vaccines that meet the needs of developing countries.
“The AMC demonstrates how innovative thinking about global markets can save lives in the worlds poorest countries,” said Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundations Global Health Program.
In June 2009, the governments of Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Russian Federation, Norway and the Gates Foundation launched a pilot AMC with a collective US$1.5 billion commitment. In addition, GAVI will help fund the total cost of these vaccines by contributing up to US$ 1.3 billion for the period 2010 to 2015.
“Today we have taken an important step forward in harnessing the potential of the pharmaceutical industry. As a result developing countries will be able to better protect the lives of their children at a price that is affordable and over a time frame that will deliver sustainable improvements in global health targets,” said United Kingdom International Development Minister, Mike Foster. “The UK will continue to champion innovative solutions that deliver more health for less money.”
Thanks to these financial commitments, pharmaceutical companies have responded to the incentive and committed to supply millions of doses of life-saving vaccines for ten years at an affordable price an unprecedented achievement providing increased access to medicine for millions of people. The AMC enables developing country governments to budget and plan for their immunisation programmes knowing that vaccines will be available in sufficient quantity and at a price they can afford over the long term.
Pneumococcal disease takes the lives of 1.6 million people each year including up to one million children before their fifth birthday. More than 90 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries, where access to medicine is not always available. Pneumonia, the most common form of serious pneumococcal disease, accounts for one in every four child deaths, making it the leading cause of death among young children. It is estimated that the pilot could save approximately 900,000 lives by 2015 and up to seven million lives by 2030.
To learn more about this program and access to medicine, visit Global Health Progress at http://www.globalhealthprogress.com.