Pfizer to Sell Discounted Pneumococcal Vaccine to GAVI-eligible Countries

Pfizer, Inc. agreed to provide 260 million shots of its Prevnar 13 vaccine to poor countries through an innovative program funded in part by the GAVI Alliance and the Gates Foundation.

AMC Program

The Advance Market Commitment (AMC) program seeks to increase vaccine production capacity and encourage companies to develop vaccines for diseases that are common in the poorest countries, or tweak existing vaccines to cover strains that are common in the poorest countries. It guarantees a steady, high-volume demand for vaccine makers who agree to sell their vaccines for $3.50 or less to poor countries. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) were chosen first for development through AMC.

Pneumococcal Disease

PCVs protect against infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. These bacterial infections can lead to severe health problems, including pneumonia, blood infections, and meningitis. Pneumococcal diseases can kill victims or leave survivors with permanent disabilities, including deafness and paralysis. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.6 million people die each year from pneumococcal disease, almost entirely in poor countries. Half of these deaths occur in children under 5 years old.

Prevnar Vaccine

Pfizer’s Prevnar vaccine (called Prevenar outside the United States) immunizes recipients against seven strains of pneumococcal disease. For AMC, Prevnar’s formula was expanded to create Prevnar 13, which protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal disease. The additional six strains are common in poor countries. In the United States, a single dose of the vaccine costs almost $130, but Pfizer will charge developing countries $3.40 this year and $3.30 per dose through 2025. For each of the first 20 percent of doses, Pfizer will receive an extra $3.50 from AMC’s pneumococcal vaccine fund.

GAVI

In the past three years, 10 million children in 29 countries have been vaccinated against pneumococcal diseases through GAVI’s support, and the program has plans to expand to 50 countries in the next two years. An estimated 1.5 million lives will be saved by 2020 thanks to the vaccines created through this program.