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Developing new vaccines is a complex, lengthy, and costly process that requires the expertise and investment of the R&D-based vaccine industry. The industry’s contributions to improving public health go above and beyond researching and developing innovative vaccines. Making these vaccines accessible to people around the world requires philanthropic and capacity-building efforts, innovative financing mechanisms, and partnerships with the global community—including the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, World Bank, GAVI Alliance, private foundations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, governments, and developing-world vaccine manufacturers.

Each of these partners invests significant resources and expertise in building advocacy for immunization, navigating local policy, and improving the public health infrastructure in developing countries so that the people who need vaccines can receive them in a safe and effective manner. As the landscape continues to change, new opportunities arise to form creative partnerships and provide necessary resources to ensure continued access to vaccines.

 

Innovative Financing Accelerates Access

The vaccine industry supports innovative financing mechanisms that are designed to accelerate access to vaccines in the developing world. Sustainable and predictable financing is essential to successful developing country uptake of new and existing vaccines. This financing is essential not only for procurement of those vaccines, but also for improvement of the immunization systems by which the vaccines are delivered. One example is the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm), which was integrated into the GAVI Alliance in 2005. Donor countries make legally-binding aid commitments, typically spanning from 10 to 20 years, and IFFIm borrows against these pledges on capital markets to raise funds that can be optimally disbursed. The November 2006 IFFIm bond launch raised $1 billion and in February 2009, a subsequent bond launch in Japan raised approximately $429 million.i As of 2007, $862 million had already been distributed to the GAVI Alliance in support of developing countries and their immunization programs.ii IFFIm’s goal is to raise $4 billion on capital markets over the next 10 years—enough to protect half a billion children through immunization.iii

Advance Market Commitments (AMCs) are another example of innovative vaccine financing. An AMC is a financial commitment by donor countries and private foundations to subsidize the future purchase of a vaccine that is not yet readily available in the developing world, provided the vaccine is developed successfully and the demand for it is strong. This new approach gives the vaccine industry financial incentives to continue to research and develop vaccines for endemic diseases. A pilot AMC for a vaccine against pneumococcal disease is expected to prevent up to 900,000 deaths by 2015 and save over 7 million lives by 2030.iv

But even with these programs, a significant shortage of funds remain. For this reason, industry has committed to making vaccines available at significant discounts using tiered pricing. This mechanism involves charging lower prices for vaccines in certain nations based upon their economic status; the countries in most need are offered the lowest prices. At the same time, manufacturers must be able to recover their costs and earn a fair return to support continued investment in vaccine research, development, and production. The tiered vaccine prices designated to high- and middle-income countries are designed to help achieve this balance.

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