Lecce, Italy, 12 June 2009
2009-060

Archived - Ministers of Finance and Global Health Leaders Fulfill Promise to Combat World's Greatest Vaccine-Preventable Killer of Children
Signatory Event Marks the Start of Advance Market Commitment to Speed up Delivery of Pneumococcal Vaccines

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Lecce, Italy, 12 June 2009 - The Finance Ministers of Italy, Canada and Russia, together with the United Kingdom, Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank Group, the GAVI Alliance, UNICEF and WHO, formally activated the implementation phase of the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) pilot project to accelerate introduction of vaccines against pneumococcal diseases in developing countries. In so doing, donors delivered on their $1.5-billion commitment, made in Rome on February 9 2007, when they decided to adopt the innovative AMC approach to save lives in the world's poorest nations.

Pneumococcal diseases claim 1.6 million lives each year - including up to one million children under five, with more than 90 percent of these deaths occurring in developing countries. Pneumonia, the most common form of serious pneumococcal disease, accounts for one in every five child deaths, making it the leading cause of death among young children. GAVI estimates that the AMC pneumococcal pilot could prevent more than seven million childhood deaths by 2030, substantially contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal on Child Health (MDG4).

Today's milestone was reached only three and a half years after the Tremonti Report, which proposed to the G8 Finance Ministers that the investment model known as Advanced Market Commitments (AMCs) be put into practice. AMCs aim at encouraging the development and production of vaccines tailored to the needs of developing countries by creating market incentives for vaccine makers to invest the considerable sums required to conduct research or build manufacturing capacity.

"Three and a half years is a very long time for the poor and the sick, but it is a short time to translate what is a complex and innovative idea into a concrete project" said the Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti. "Italy is proud to support the AMC initiative: immunization is an investment in human capital that fosters long term economic development."

Normally pharmaceutical companies have little interest in investing in research, development and manufacturing of vaccines for the developing world because countries usually cannot afford them. Through an AMC, donors commit money to guarantee the price of vaccines once they have been developed and manufactured, thus creating the potential for a viable future market. In turn, companies that participate in the AMC will make legally binding commitments to supply the vaccines at lower and sustainable prices after the donor funds are spent.

The AMC against pneumococcal disease will prompt the establishment of new production plants dedicated to pneumococcal vaccines. Over the long term, this will create a self-sustainable market at affordable prices for recipient countries. The currently existing pneumococcal vaccine is sold at over US$70 in industrialized countries. But thanks to the AMC, the long term price for developing countries will be US$3.50. In June 2008 the GAVI Alliance Board confirmed its intent to provide US$1.3 billion to support the purchase of pneumococcal vaccines by poor countries interested in buying them. GAVI hopes to assist up to 60 of the world's poorest countries to introduce these vaccines by 2015.

"I endorse the Advance Commitment being launched today. This innovative mechanism, now launched for pneumococcal vaccine but which I hope will extend to other diseases, enables those who need vaccines in the developing world to access them" said Dr. Richard Sezibera, the Minister of Health of Rwanda. "It gives industry - including industry in the developing world - certainty of a market and reasonable profit while on the other, offering the countries like mine the opportunity to deal with the major health challenges affecting our people".

With today's ceremony, donors are making the AMC fully operational, helping create a new market with all parties having signed the package of legal agreements that outline their respective roles. In addition to financial support, GAVI will provide administrative and programmatic support. As agreed at a recent Board meeting, the World Bank will provide the financial services platform to ensure the AMC works effectively. WHO will pre-qualify the vaccines, and UNICEF will be responsible for vaccine procurement and international distribution on behalf of governments.

Pharmaceutical companies can register their interest in participating in the AMC from 15 June 2009. Donor funds are not provided until after the proposed vaccines have met stringent, pre-agreed technical criteria and developing countries request them.

The ceremony, hosted by Minister Tremonti - and chaired by Professor David Fleming, one of the chief architects of the AMC concept and model - witnessed the participation of the Finance Ministers and other senior officials of donor and implementing countries, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI Alliance CEO, Julian Lob-Levyt, the World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick, along with representatives of the two major pharmaceutical associations representing both developed and developing world manufacturers - International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA) and the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers' Network (DCVMN).

AMC donor contributions (US$)

Italy $635 million
UK $485 million
Canada $200 million
Russia $80 million
Norway $50 million
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $50 million

TOTAL $1.5 Billion

Supporting quotes

"The launch of this pilot AMC is a big milestone in the fight against preventable child diseases, and the culmination of efforts by experts from across the world that have contributed to its development. The UK is pleased to support this initiative, which could prevent many of the up to one million infant deaths from pneumococcal disease each year and should ensure a sustainable and affordable supply of vaccines well into the future." - British Chancellor Alistair Darling.

"The AMC against pneumococcal disease is an important step towards reducing the health inequities between rich and poor, and a way to protect the lives of the world's poorest children" said Dr Julian Lob-Levyt, GAVI CEO. "We look forward to pharmaceutical firms applying to the AMC quickly in order to ensure the rapid introduction of suitable and affordable life-saving vaccines."

"This innovative new model will mean faster access to vaccines for millions of children in poor countries. It's a great example of how innovation and technology together can produce life-saving advances and make them available to people who need them around the world" - Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"Two years ago, countries came together sharing a common vision—that breakthrough, life-saving medicines should not be denied to the world's poorest simply because they can't afford them" said Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. "The AMC initiative is perfectly suited to our Government's commitment to ensure that each aid dollar brings as much benefit as possible. Canada is proud to contribute to such a worthwhile initiative, one focused squarely on results."

"Millions of poor people around the world are suffering and dying because they have little or no access to critical new vaccines. This innovative and efficient market- based approach will save lives by helping provide vaccines to those who desperately need them" said Robert B. Zoellick, World Bank Group President.

"IFPMA, on behalf of the research based vaccine manufacturers, supports innovative financing mechanisms such as the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) as important additions to traditional sustainable and predictable financing for immunization. IFPMA applauds all efforts to encourage development and availability of pneumococcal and other vaccines for developing countries. Such efforts should make a significant contribution towards reducing childhood mortality and attaining MDG 4. Individual manufacturers look forward to reviewing the full details of this framework." – International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA)

"DCVMN welcomes the launch of AMC for the Pneumococcal Vaccine and really hopes that at least part of the total allocation will be available for the manufacturers from our Network. In future we are looking forward to additional AMCs for newer vaccines with a clear-cut allocation available for the developing countries vaccine manufacturer"s - Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers' Network (DCVMN).

"The AMC pilot project represents a shared public and private commitment to saving lives faster and achieving the Millennium Development Goals" said Alexey Kudrin, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance.

"We congratulate Italy on its leadership in moving this very important pilot project of innovative financing from concept to reality and look forward to its continued leadership for Global health at the forthcoming G8 Summit next month" - Prime Minister Stoltenberg from Norway

"Each year, nearly one million children in developing countries die from a disease that can be prevented with safe, effective vaccines that are routinely provided to children in wealthy nations. The pneumococcal AMC will help rectify global inequalities in disease prevention and give children from resource-poor countries a fighting chance." - Dr. Ciro de Quadros, executive vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute

"Today's launch promises to make vaccines available affordably, where they are desperately needed, and faster than ever before. Through this AMC and thanks to the political will demonstrated by donor and developing nations alike, prevention is now within reach for millions of the world's children" - Dr. Orin Levine, executive director of PneumoADIP at the Johns Hopkins University.

"Supporting the Advance Market Commitment initiative to bring life saving vaccines to developing countries is another example of the Government of Canada's commitment to the health and well-being of children and youth. Canada is joining other donors in making these vaccines available because we recognize that by securing a future for children and youth, we will ensure that young people have the opportunities to successfully participate and thrive in their communities." - Beverley J. Oda, Canadian Minister of International Cooperation.

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