Wealthy Nations Launch Vaccine Purchase Plan for Diseases Such as HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria
Officials from a group of wealthy nations on Friday launched a $1.5 billion plan to provide and develop vaccines for diseases -- including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria -- that largely affect developing countries, the New York Times reports (Rosenthal, New York Times, 2/10). Under the program, donor countries will pledge to buy vaccines that are being developed at a preferential price when they are available. This would create a financial incentive for drug companies to develop vaccines for diseases that largely affect developing countries (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/8). Italy, Canada, Norway, Russia and the United Kingdom have committed the funding for the program, which was launched in Rome (New York Times, 2/10). The program, known as the Advance Market Commitment, will phase out its funding after seven to 10 years, and vaccine manufacturers will be required to continue selling their products to developing countries at the discounted price that was established during the process. Vaccines must meet the standards of efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness laid out by the GAVI Alliance, the World Bank and an assessment committee (Falconi, AP/CP/Globe and Mail, 2/9). According to the GAVI Alliance and the World Bank, the program is expected to prevent the deaths of 5.4 million children by 2030. The first phase of the plan will focus on the pneumococcal vaccine, which prevents pneumonia in children (New York Times, 2/10). World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, who attended the launch, said the plan's success requires that the vaccines reach patients, are administered effectively and their results are monitored. He added that the international community should help developing countries improve health care infrastructures to increase access to services (Castelfranco, VOA News, 12/9).
Related Editorial, Opinion Piece
Washington Post: Even though the plan is a "relatively cheap, market-based approach" to vaccine development, the U.S. contribution is "[n]otably absent," a Washington Post editorial says. This is a "mistake" that policymakers should "correct as the initiative proceeds," the editorial says (Washington Post, 2/12).
- British Finance Minister Gordon Brown, Independent: The new vaccine purchase plan is a "workable, powerful and cost-effective mechanism" that "turns a vague hope for a medical breakthrough into an immediate reality," Brown writes in an Independent opinion piece. He adds that he believes this year will see a "breakthrough in the way we develop and produce life-saving vaccines" (Brown, Independent, 2/10).