Over the last decade, vaccine markets for developing countries have become a viable business opportunity for manufacturers
Copyright GAVI/2007/Atul Loke
Over the last decade, vaccine markets for developing countries have become a viable business opportunity for manufacturers.
Increasingly dynamic, these markets are unique in many ways.
In order to maintain sustainable immunisation programmes, our collective aspiration is to achieve healthy market conditions for all vaccines used in developing countries.
A healthy vaccine market provides the right vaccines, in sufficient quantities, at affordable and sustainable prices, in a timely fashion.
There needs to be sufficient diversity of manufacturers to mitigate the potential risk of supply interruptions and incentives need to be in place to stimulate research and development of novel vaccines that continue to meet the needs of developing countries. “It is difficult for a market to be born healthy “ said Meredith Shirey from UNICEF Supply Division, as it takes years to bring a new product to market, to build additional capacity, or to reformulate an existing vaccine. But all panellists agreed that we are moving in the right direction.
Important lessons about how to influence markets can be learnt from the Global Fund and UNITAID as highlighted by Prashant Yadav. “Reduce transaction cost for manufacturers and lower uncertainty in the market – this will not only be beneficial to manufacturers, but also to country programmes”, he said.
Indeed, according to Sanat Chattopdhyay from Merck Vaccines: “Having greater market certainty upfront allows for better planning and helps us to incorporate developing world requirements into our research and production plans from the earliest stages.”
While we never get to 100% market certainty Akira Homma from Bio-Manguinhos pointed out that “some uncertainties can be prevented relatively easily by for example putting in place defined stockpiles, as GAVI has done for some vaccines”.
Through increased concerted global efforts and partnerships such as the GAVI Alliance, progress has been made in positively influencing vaccine markets.
But more can be done and the entire vaccine community must plan and invest now to further accelerate progress towards our ideal markets that truly meet the changing needs of developing countries.