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Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.
The Global Vaccine Action plan maps out a strategy to increase access and R&D for vaccines.
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) report that a newly published paper on vaccines provides a set of pragmatic actions to improve global access to and use of high quality, safe and effective vaccines. Published in Vaccine, the peer-reviewed paper, “Delivering the Promise of the Decade of Vaccines: Opportunities and Challenges in the Development of High Quality New Vaccines,” was authored by vaccine experts with support from IFPMA and the BIO (1).
Launched in 2010, the Decade of Vaccines (DoV) Initiative assembled key global health stakeholders in an effort to reduce vaccine-preventable illnesses by achieving 90% global vaccine coverage by 2020. The paper provides the perspectives of the research- based vaccine industry on how to advance the DoV’s objectives and support vaccine uptake by addressing availability, affordability, adoption, and alliances, as outlined by IFPMA in an Apr. 18, 2013 press release.
The DoV was introduced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2010 with a pledge by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to dedicate $10 billion to the overall goal of researching, developing, and delivering vaccines to developing countries (1). In December 2010, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation formally launched the DoVthrough a pact to create the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP). Following input from DoV stakeholders, including IFPMA and BIO, a final draft of the GVAP was presented and endorsed at the 65th World Health Assembly in 2012.
The consultation received input from governments, policymakers, civil society, healthcare professionals, global development organizations, academics, private sector players, including vaccine manufacturers, and other key stakeholders involved in immunization, health, and human development, The DoV action plan included a key role for these research-based companies to participate by continuing to innovate, develop, produce and supply high quality vaccines. Some specific actions suggested by the action plan for manufacturers are as follows: to participate in open dialogue with countries and the public sector to ensure sustained access to current and future high quality vaccines; advance innovation in R&D and manufacturing; support rapid vaccine adoption as new or improved vaccines become available; develop partnerships that support increasing manufacturing capabilities, supply and innovation work in coordination with other partners on vaccine and immunization advocacy.
According to the authors, accelerating vaccine access and innovation, especially in the developing world, requires a mix of “push and pull” mechanisms. Examples of “push” mechanisms that stimulate R&D are grants and investment tax credits while “pull” mechanisms can include donor guarantees of vaccine purchases and government programs to promote vaccine uptake through increased awareness of vaccines' health benefits.
“Global health stakeholders share responsibility for achieving the goals of the Decade of Vaccines," says Eduardo Pisani, IFPMA Director General, in the IFPMA release. “This report applies industry learnings and expertise that contributed to several past health successes such as dramatically reduced measles-related deaths and eradication of smallpox. With greater public awareness and access to innovative vaccines, great strides can be made toward preventing other leading communicable and non-communicable diseases.”
1. J.A. Keith et al., Vaccine 31S, B184–B19 (2013).