Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
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A €1.16 billion program is being funded in order to encourage drug companies to come up with vaccines to help prevent pneumonia and meningitis, intended to save the lives of more than 5 million children by 2030, in the world’s poorest countries.
The idea of the fund, which is to begin with the pilot program in pneumococcal disease, is to act as a bridge between poorer countries and drug firms. Italy, Canada, Norway, Russia and Britain are the first countries to back up the fund. The plan is to subsidise the future purchase of vaccines, hoping to serve as an incentive in order to bring drug firms into action.
If a developing country agrees it needs a drug which industry can develop, the fund provides a commitment to purchase the vaccines once they are produced.
“The key aim is to ensure there is secure funding for the vaccines urgently needed in the poorest countries, where thousands of children die every day from diseases that can be prevented,” Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank President
Companies must agree to sell the new vaccine at a price that developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America can afford. After a period of 7-10 years, vaccine producers are to continue supplying their products, at a discounted price.
On another note, the first large-scale trial of an HIV vaccine is set to begin in South Africa. Three thousand HIV negative men and women who are sexually active will be immunised in a 4 year study.
This is a highly needed element in Public Private Partnerships. Pharmaceutical companies have their very important and fundamental role to play, but so do governments from developed and developing economies, NGO’s, other agencies and philanthropists, in order to generate incentives which increase R&D of neglected diseases, which still is in a low 10% of the whole R&D expenditure.
Learn more about The Global Fund and their January 2007 Africa Update.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on vaccine preventable diesases.
Learn about the International Aids Vaccine Initiative.


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