U.N. Secretary-General Urges Funding For GAVI During Replenishment Meeting

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has “urged more funding” for the GAVI Alliance to help achieve its childhood vaccine targets and the related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), TopNews reports. “Let us commit to improving health for children, women and men everywhere,” Ban said Wednesday at a GAVI replenishment meeting in New York (Mukherjee, 10/7).  

White House health adviser Ezekiel Emanuel said, “As a founder of the GAVI Alliance, and by co-chairing this action meeting, the U.S. is pleased to strengthen our continued commitment to the GAVI Alliance and to its ambitious goals. We’re all here because GAVI’s track record of 5.4 million lives saved makes it both a good investment for the world, and a source of hope,” according to a release from GAVI, which also contains videos of the event (10/6).

According to the U.N. News Centre, Ban “noted that immunization, and the work of the Alliance, is a key part of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which he launched two weeks [ago] with the aim of saving the lives of over 16 million women and children between 2011 and 2015.” He also called GAVI and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “central pillars of global public health.” Ban continued, “You are poised to accelerate the introduction of life-saving vaccines – a plan that can prevent more than 4 million future deaths, the child who will live without risk of pneumonia, the girl who will never have to suffer cervical cancer, the millions of women and men who will be saved by a simple injection” (10/6).

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said his country would “double” its support for vaccines that aid children in the developing world, AAP/Sydney Morning Herald reports. Australia will “invest $60 million over three years in the work of GAVI Alliance efforts to combat two of the biggest childhood killers – pneumonia resulting from pneumococcal disease and diarrhoea triggered by rotavirus” (10/6).

Johnson & Johnson To Acquire Crucell

Johnson & Johnson announced Wednesday a $2.41 billion deal to buy Holland’s Crucell, “a major vaccine supplier to UNICEF and developing countries” and developer of “medicines that use antibodies to zero in on organisms causing infectious diseases,” Associated Press reports (Johnson, 10/6).

The Wall Street Journal writes that “some major shareholders” in Crucell voiced doubts “saying that [the deal] doesn’t reflect the true value of the company, one of the few remaining independent vaccine makers. They argue that Crucell, with its strong cash position, manufacturing facilities and successful product pipeline, is worth more and that J&J’s bid doesn’t reflect the company’s future potential” (Van Tartwijk, 10/7).

The Financial Times notes that the deal “marks the latest sign of consolidation in the vaccines sector, which in recent years has become an area of profitable growth that is increasingly coveted by large pharmaceutical companies seeking to diversify from their traditional chemical-based medicines” (Jack, 10/6)

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