Geneva, 6 November 2006
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) welcomes the forthcoming presentation of the inaugural bond for the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm), to improve developing countries' access to under-used and new vaccines. IFFIm and innovative finance mechanisms such as Advance Market Commitments (AMCs)* reflect growing international recognition of the importance of disease prevention in general and vaccines in particular.
IFPMA Director General Dr. Harvey Bale said: "IFFIm and AMCs help put vaccines where they belong, at the center of efforts to improve health care. The research-based pharmaceutical, vaccine and biotech industry welcomes and supports these pioneering mechanisms and reiterates its commitment to work with governments and other partners to help realize their full potential, by making quality vaccines widely available on a sustainable basis. The IFFIm and AMC approaches are a courageous effort by donor country governments to use their financial muscle in intelligent ways to bring market forces to bear on major health care problems that are inextricably linked to poverty. They are also a welcome official acknowledgement that private industry, working for reward, under the stimulus of competition, is a vital partner in delivering innovative health care solutions."
The money raised by the sale of IFFIm bonds will provide an additional guaranteed source of funding for the acquisition of vaccines and the improvement of the immunization infrastructure in developing countries. IFFIm funds, which could amount to as much as USD 4 billion, will enable the GAVI Alliance to help developing countries to immunize children against many vaccine-preventable diseases, potentially saving the lives of an estimated 5 million children in the period 2006-2015.
The industry also urges OECD government donors to commit to fund the AMC pilot project. This should provide a strong financial incentive for the development of effective, modern vaccines against pneumococcal disease, which the WHO reckons accounts for 1.6 million deaths per year, 90% of which are in developing countries, mostly amongst children under five years old. Pneumococcal disease is also a good choice for a pilot project as many companies are active in this field and a number of candidate vaccines are well advanced in development. The IFPMA hopes that future AMC projects will address other disease areas, including those for which candidate vaccines are less well advanced.
* An AMC is a commitment by donor country governments to subsidize the purchase of a new vaccine once it is approved by regulatory authorities and demanded by developing countries. This innovative finance mechanism is designed to stimulate development of innovative vaccines for neglected diseases primarily affecting developing countries.