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GAVI Alliance Reaches Agreement With Drugmakers On Reduced-Price Pneumococcal Vaccines

Several drugmakers have reached an agreement “to supply up to 200 million doses a year of cut-price pneumococcal vaccines to developing nations,” according to GAVI Alliance, Reuters reports. A formal announcement of the deal is expected “in the next couple of weeks,” GAVI’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Helen Evans told the news service Thursday.

“Pneumococcal disease is one of the world’s biggest killers of children, claiming up to 1.6 million lives each year. Africa and Asia together account for 95 percent of all deaths from pneumococcal disease, which causes serious illnesses such as pneumonia and meningitis,” Reuters writes.

The agreement is what’s called an “Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which provides a guaranteed market for vaccines supplied to poor nations but sets a maximum price that drugmakers can expect to receive,” according to Reuters. “The AMC scheme was devised to try to encourage drug companies to make and supply medicines and vaccines to boost health in poorer countries, which are generally unable to afford the high prices paid in Western markets,” the news service writes, adding that officials at both GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer confirmed they had been working with GAVI on the supply agreement.

Britain, Canada, Italy, Norway and Russia, together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have agreed to support the vaccine deal, which anticipates introducing the vaccines in 42 developing countries by 2015, Reuters writes. “If it proves successful, existing and new donors have said they would be interested in supporting more AMC schemes, including one for malaria,” according to Reuters (Kelland/Hirschler, 3/11).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.