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Global Vaccine Initiative Wins Support From Italian, Canadian, Russian Finance Ministers

Finance ministers from Italy, Canada and Russia Friday voiced their support for a program aimed at lowering the prices of vaccines for developing countries, the AFP/Google.com reports. “The Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) programme was first outlined in 2007 and will encourage pharmaceutical companies to invest in research for vaccines against deadly diseases by promising to buy the vaccines at a fixed price,” the AFP/Google.com writes (AFP/Google.com, 6/12).

The program – which is funded by Italy, the U.K., Canada, Russia, Norway and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – will start by focusing on a vaccine for pneumococcal disease (Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, 6/12).  The finance ministers at a G8 meeting in Italy on Friday signed off on the new project, which is estimated to make the current pneumococcal vaccine available for $3.50 in developing countries compared to $70 in developed countries (AFP/Google.com, 6/12).

“Italy is proud to support the AMC initiative: immunisation is an investment in human capital that fosters long-term economic development,” Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti said in a written statement (AFP/Google.com, 6/12). “If this pilot project works out, well, then, this will start out I think a wave of financing vaccines in the poorest countries in the world,” Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said (Akin, Canwest News Service/The Gazette, 6/14).

Some groups are not convinced AMC will lead vaccine prices for developing countries to drop, including Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) which said developing world vaccine producers should be involved in the process, according to AFP/Google.com. “It’s only if developing country manufacturers enter the market that we can expect prices to come down to more affordable levels in the future,” Laurent Gadot, a health economist at MSF, said in a statement (AFP/Google.com, 6/12).

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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.