THE FIRST AMC PROJECT FOR VACCINES AGAINST PNEUMOCOCCAL DISEASE

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    Rome, 9th February 2007 – An initial group of donor countries – Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Norway and Russia – launched today, during a ceremony at the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) for Vaccines programme by announcing their commitment to finance the development of a new vaccine against pneumococcal disease, responsible for the death of more than one million children every year. The objective of the AMC for vaccines programme is to save millions of lives in the poorest countries of the World.
    The programme has been officially launched in Rome by the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, the Italian Health Minister, Livia Turco, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, the Minister of Finance of Canada, James M. Flaherty, the President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, and representing the Governments of Norway and Russia, the Special Counsellor to the Presidency, Tore Godal, and H.E. Ambassador Yuri Isakov. Furthermore, the ceremony was attended by the Chairman of the "AMC Committee of Independent Experts" Heatherwick Ntaba, the Health Minister of Ghana, Courage Emmanuel K. Quashigah, and the Secretary-General of the GAVI Alliance Julian Lob-Levyt.
    Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, Member of the GAVI Board and UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children, stressed in her speech the importance and the interest with which the AMC programme has been welcomed internationally. Her attendance at the AMC launch highlighted that the generosity and commitment of the most advanced economies can lead to specific and highly efficient programmes to protect the weakest.
    Once completed, the total investment for the development of the vaccine against pneumococcal disease will total financial resources to the tune of 1.5 billion US$. Italy is the first donor country with a financial commitment of 635 million US$. The United Kingdom will contribute 485 million US$, Canada 200 million US$, Russia 80 million US$, and Norway 50 million US$. A further 50 million US$ will be contributed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
    The vaccine against pneumococcal disease that will be developed under the AMC programme will be a new generation vaccine that will meet the current immunisation needs of the least developed countries. The pilot project launched today will, over time, enable the vaccination of seventy to one hundred million people and is expected to save almost five and a half million lives by the year 2030.
    The Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, stated that: "The AMC is an absolutely innovative approach that brings together market instruments and public financing and opens a new frontier in the financing of the fight against poverty and endemic diseases". "The AMC initiative has made today a very important step forward. International projects such as the AMC will make possible saving millions of human lives and demonstrate that development can and must meet the need to ensure equality and offer guarantees of a better future for the poorest countries", stated the Minister.
    The AMC for vaccines project, by blending market instruments with public financing, marks a decisive step forward in the research and development of vaccines against endemic diseases that each year kill millions of people, first of all children, in the poorest regions of the World. Ever since 2005, Italy has been leading this project that, by now, has been adopted both within the G7 and the G8.
    The development of vaccines for certain infective diseases (such as the pneumococcal disease, malaria, or the human papilloma-virus) is delayed not only by scientific reasons, but also by the lack of specific investments by the private sector, as the latter is not incentivised to dedicate sufficient financial resources to the research and production of these vaccines.
    The AMC project will provide those incentives. The donor countries commit themselves to purchase the new vaccines, once they are developed and certified as efficient by a Panel of Experts. The pharmaceutical companies are thus motivated to engage in further and faster research and development of vaccines against diseases identified by a group of independent experts within the AMC project.
    The production and distribution of vaccines in those parts of the world that are affected by endemic diseases will not only enable the drastic reduction of infant mortality, but will also open new prospects for the economies of the beneficiary countries which will, through the AMC project, have whole new generations of young people ready to grow and contribute to the development of their countries.
    How the AMCs Function
    The donors assume a legally binding commitment (Advance Market Commitment) to finance the purchasing of a set number of vaccine doses which are not yet available, at a set price, provided that the vaccine is discovered, developed, certified as efficient by a scientific body (the Independent Assessment Committee), and requested by beneficiary countries;
    The donors commit themselves to purchase, at a set price, a certain number of doses of vaccines that meet set medical requirements – not one single product, but any vaccine that meets the set requirements, so as to generate incentives for the development of new and better vaccines, closely reflecting the functioning of the non-subsidised market;
    The price paid for each dose and the number of doses that the donors commit to purchase at that price, are set so as to ensure the profitability of the investment made into research and development by the pharmaceutical company or companies that successfully discover and produce vaccines that meet the set requirements;
    The pharmaceutical companies that benefit from the donors’ subsidies, commit themselves to supply the beneficiary countries (once the subsidy lapses as the number of doses set under the AMC has been purchased) with vaccines at a price close to the marginal cost of the vaccines, so as to ensure that immunisation campaigns continue at affordable costs also in the poorest countries;
    A streamlined secretariat ensures the administrative and legal management of the initiative. The financial management of the initiative, starting with the collection of the financements and then continuing with the issuing of grants, will be ensured by the World Bank. The material purchasing of the vaccines will be managed by GAVI, which is already active in this sector with regard to already existing vaccines, for example the vaccines against diphtheria or measles.

    mi-lorenteggio.com and agencies

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