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GSK/Pfizer pledge pneumococcal vaccines

GSK and Pfizer have signed a deal with the GAVI Alliance to supply vaccines for pneumococcal disease for children in developing countries

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer have signed a deal with the GAVI Alliance to supply vaccines for pneumococcal disease for use in children in developing countries. The two pharma giants are the first to sign-up to the programme designed to accelerate access to vaccines, which is made possible by the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for pneumococcal disease. 

The AMC is an innovative financing mechanism piloted by the GAVI Alliance and backed by the G8. The governments of Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed $1.5bn to the programme which launched in June 2009.

"Today's landmark announcement promises to make new vaccines available affordably, where they are urgently needed, and faster than ever before. Through this AMC and thanks to the political will demonstrated by donors and least developed nations and the participation of the pharmaceutical companies, prevention against the world's biggest childhood killer is now within reach," said GAVI CEO Julian Lob-Levyt.

Both GSK and Pfizer have committed to supply 30 million doses of vaccines each, every year for a 10 year period. The vaccines will be sold for $3.50 per dose, which will be paid by GAVI and the governments of the developing countries who introduce the vaccines. 

In around 20 per cent of cases, the donor pharmaceutical companies will receive an additional $3.50 per dose paid out of the AMC funds. This is still a fraction of the current cost of these vaccines in industrialised countries.

Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK said: "The coalition that has made this possible is providing new means to transform global public health.  The AMC is precisely the sort of innovative model needed to accelerate access to vaccines for people living in the poorest countries. The typical 15-20 year 'vaccine gap' between access in developed countries versus the world's poorest countries is unacceptable. This AMC means children in Africa will start to receive Synflorix this year."

Pfizer's chairman and CEO, Jeff Kindler, said: "Pfizer is gratified to participate in this public-private partnership. We commend GAVI and the other AMC partners for their ingenuity in launching an innovative financing mechanism like AMC to bring important new vaccines to least developed countries." 

The introduction of the pneumococcal vaccine is part of GAVI's plans to reduce global child mortality rates. More than 90 per cent of deaths from pneumococcal disease occur in developing countries. Approximately 800,000 children under five die from the disease each year.

The Alliance also aims to introduce a vaccine against rotavirus, which causes diarrhoea, another major killer, in 41 countries by 2015. Between them, the vaccines for the two diseases could save the lives of up to 11 million children by 2030.

24th March 2010

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