Last June, manufacturers offered commitments to GAVI to provide steep price discounts on rotavirus vaccines, and today those low price pledges became a reality. GAVI has announced that a deal was reached with GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co. Inc. to supply a respective 95% and 5% of the total procured volume of rotavirus vaccines at substantially reduced prices. Vaccines against rotavirus are saving lives today in countries where children have access to them. The new low prices for life-saving rotavirus vaccines represent a significant milestone for GAVI in its promise to increase access to rotavirus vaccines to those children who need them most.
Shaping vaccine markets to benefit children in the poorest countries underlies GAVI’s business model. The bulk of the supply volume—95%—will cost GAVI US$5/course. This amounts to a 67% reduction of the lowest price offered to public institutions to date and a 97% reduction of the price charged in the US private market. GAVI’s approach of pooling demand and engaging in bulk purchasing maximizes donor contributions and increases the ability of countries to sustain vaccine introductions.
In an effort to address longer term affordability and supply of rotavirus vaccines, PATH is collaborating with emerging-country vaccine manufacturers to develop new rotavirus vaccines that are both affordable and effective in developing world populations. PATH’s innovative model includes using a shared technology platform to minimize costs, streamlining the development process to enable these new vaccines to meet international quality standards, and facilitating swift licensure.
Demand for rotavirus vaccines in GAVI-eligible countries remains high, as vaccination offers the best hope for preventing severe and fatal rotavirus disease and the deadly dehydrating diarrhea that it causes. By 2016, GAVI plans to roll out rotavirus vaccines in more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries, immunizing more than 70 million children