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Vaccine deal for developing countries closer to completion

A deal that should speed the development and availability of a pneumococcal vaccine to developing countries is a step closer to completion following the release of final recommendations.

A deal that should speed the development and availability of a pneumococcal vaccine to developing countries is a step closer to completion following the release of final recommendations. 

The Economic Expert Group (EEG) released its final recommendations on April 2 on a pilot Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) to supply vaccines against pneumococcal disease to developing countries.

The Donor Committee, comprising governments from the UK, Italy, Canada, Russia and Norway, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have provisionally endorsed many of the options recommended by the EEG for the set up of the AMC. 

Recommendations

It has been recommended that the vaccine should have a two-step pricing structure, with donors guaranteeing to pay $5-7 per dose for $1.5bn worth of vaccines, and industry committing to provide vaccines at a tail price of $2 per dose for an agreed period in later years. 

The EEG has also warned that there is a significant risk that companies will not build new manufacturing capacity that is needed but instead will just provide a limited number of vaccines from existing, or marginally increased, capacity. To avoid this, it has recommended that as a condition of entry to the AMC, pharma companies should commit to supply a portion of the forecast developing country demand. In return, the companies would be apportioned access to a corresponding share of the AMC's $1.5bn resources.

The EEG has also recommended that AMC funds should be divided and allocated within two or more sequential offers in order to ensure the first pharma companies on board do not monopolise funding that could exclude other companies in the future that might offer more competitive products. 

"The next and final stage in AMC design is to elaborate on the selected options, in order to provide the necessary detail in financial terms, pricing and parameters for the pilot AMC," the Donor Committee said in a statement. 

As a result, it has commissioned an Implementation Working Group (IWG), which will report back in May 2008. The IWG will carry out the analytic work and provide recommendations for the final terms and parameters of the AMC. The IWG will consult with developing country representatives, vaccine companies, NGOs and other stakeholders. 

The Donor Committee has pledged $1.5bn to fund the AMC. Italy has promised $635m, the UK $485m, Canada $200m, Russia $80m, Norway $50m and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation $50m. 

The AMC will be a model for speeding up the development of vaccines, specifically those that prevent disease strains prevalent in developing countries. The pilot will provide seven to 10 years of funding to support the development of future vaccines against pneumococcal disease and will include provisions to assure the long term sustainable supply and price for the poorest countries.

The Expert Committee will meet again some time in 2008 to discuss the possibility of a second AMC. Investment cases will be submitted for a number of diseases and the Expert Committee will evaluate the data to determine which disease is best suited. 

When the AMC was first announced in February 2007, it was stated that the AMC would allow new pneumococcal vaccines to reach developing countries by 2010, at least 10 years earlier than if the AMC was not available.

3rd April 2008

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