Gates Foundation helps launch $1.5B program

A group of five nations has joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to offer advance guarantees for new vaccines that can guard against some of the most common diseases seen in developing countries. Collectively, they are investing $1.5 billion with the expectation that the lure of new funds will spur manufacturers to develop new and better vaccines.

One of the first goals will be to develop vaccines for pneumococcal diseases which kill about 1.6 million people--mostly children--every year. Vaccine manufacturers in the program will be required to offer vaccines at a reduced rate once the program's money is spent. Britain, Italy, Canada, Russia, Norway and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will work with the WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank on the Advance Market Commitment program.

"It is novel. This hasn't been done before," said Canada's finance minister, Jim Flaherty. "This innovative new model will mean faster access to vaccines for millions of children in poor countries," said Bill Gates.

- read the report from Pharmacy Europe
- check out the story from the Montreal Gazette