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WASHINGTON, DC, April 10, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Global Health Progress applauds the governments of Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, and Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as they welcome 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 world's poorest countries.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer Inc. are 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.
The AMC was created to stimulate the development, manufacture, and uptake of affordable vaccines that meet the needs of developing countries.
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.
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 immunization programs 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.
Welcome statements and quotes from AMC donors:
Italy: "Finally public and private sectors join forces to fight poverty and disease. Together, we can make a difference." - Giulio Tremonti, Minister of the Economy and Finance.
United Kingdom: International Development Minister, Mike Foster, said: "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. The UK will continue to champion innovative solutions that deliver more health for less money."
Canada welcomes this development that can make a significant difference in reducing the death of children under the age of 5. This is an important step that will support Canada's G8 focus on maternal and infant health as pneumococcal disease is one of the biggest causes of child mortality, particularly in developing countries.
Norway: "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." - Paul Fife, Head of Department
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: "The AMC demonstrates how innovative thinking about global markets can save lives in the world's poorest countries," said Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Program.
More information available online:
AMC Press Release
GAVI Alliance Press Release
GSK Press Release
Pfizer Press Release
About Global Health Progress
The Global Health Progress initiative brings research-based biopharmaceutical companies and global health leaders together to improve health in the developing world. Through meaningful public-private partnerships with others in the field, including policymakers in the developed and developing world, multi-lateral institutions, non-governmental organizations, and academe, we are helping to shape sustainable solutions that improve the health of all people. http://www.globalhealthprogress.org/index.php
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