GSK commitment is latest step towards improving access to PCV but challenges remain
Geneva, 17 March 2016 – A new commitment from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to provide pneumococcal vaccine at the lowest ever price was today welcomed by Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The new price will be set at US$ 3.05 for doses being provided from 2017, a reduction of 10% from the current price of $3.40.
The commitment was announced by GSK’s Chief Executive, Sir Andrew Witty, at an event in Washington DC. The price will be available through the pilot Advance Market Commitment (AMC) to all Gavi countries and, for countries using the vaccine when they transition from Gavi support, it will continue to be available at this price for 10 years after transition.
“This price reduction is good news for everyone who wants to see children protected against the leading cause of pneumonia,” said Dr Berkley. “Sustainable pricing is one important objective of Gavi’s supply and procurement strategy, along with secure supply and product innovation. Healthy long term vaccine markets are critical to ensuring that the immunisation systems being built in developing countries today will benefit children for generations to come.”
Pneumococcal vaccines protect against pneumococcal disease, which is the leading cause of pneumonia. In 2015, pneumonia claimed the lives of 922,000 children under the age of five, accounting for around 15% of deaths worldwide of children in this age group, making it the largest vaccine-preventable killer of children.
Gavi began supporting developing countries to introduce pneumococcal vaccines in 2010. Since then, more than 50 countries have introduced the vaccine into their routine immunisation schedule with close to 50 million children now fully immunised against the disease.
Due in part to the complexities of developing a technologically advanced vaccine covering a large number of strains of pneumococcal disease, there are currently only two WHO prequalified vaccines. This contributes to the challenge of achieving significant change from the original $3.50 per dose agreed for Gavi in 2009. Although small price decreases have been secured since 2012, Gavi continues to work with manufacturers achieve the important objectives of bringing additional vaccines and lower pricing into the market to ensure sustainability once countries have transitioned from Gavi support.
Gavi’s vaccine supply and procurement strategy seeks to cultivate healthy markets to ensure that the supply of high-quality, affordable vaccines meets demand and that developing countries’ needs are fully met through continued product innovation. Current manufacturers of the vaccine have invested heavily to support Gavi in meeting country demand and are innovating with the development of multi-dose vials that reduce cold chain requirements.
“By working together on a holistic approach that drives supply security, affordability and product development, we are seeing improvements that are leading to increased access to better, modern products. There is still a long way to go but the progress is encouraging,” added Dr Berkley.
Gavi’s support for pneumococcal vaccine is partly funded by the AMC, under which manufacturers commit to a long term “tail price” for pneumococcal vaccines and Gavi agrees to pay a top up on a number of initial doses. Today’s announcement means that the tail price for GSK’s pneumococcal vaccine will be set at $3.05 from 2017.
The AMC was developed in collaboration with the World Bank and UNICEF Supply Division. The governments of Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Russian Federation and Norway, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have committed a total of $1.5 billion to the initiative.