By Estel Grace Masangkay
Sanofi Pasteur, Sanofi’s vaccine division, announced that it will supply UNICEF with Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) which will be made available to target countries according to vaccination plans. UNICEF is the organization which purchases vaccines to meet global needs.
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, said, "The World Health Organization welcomes today's announcement to reduce the cost of this effective polio vaccine, it is a significant step forward in the fight against polio. This development is a strong signal that polio eradication partners remain fully committed to a world without polio."
The company has developed a joint price support mechanism with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to offer IPV at a price of approximately one US dollar to 73 poorest countries in the world. The mechanism includes financial contributions from both organizations.
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, “Reducing the price of IPV for the world’s poorest countries is helping remove the cost of the vaccine as a barrier to achieving a polio-free world. This is a significant advancement to ensure every child, no matter where they live, will benefit from access to this essential vaccine.”
IPV is a necessary step in achieving a polio-free world by 2018, the company says. Sanofi Pasteur is the world’s largest IPV producer with over 300 million doses a year. The GPEI Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 calls for progressive replacement of oral polio vaccine (OPV) with inactive, injectable vaccine for the world to advance into the final stage of polio eradication.
Olivier Charmeil, CEO of Sanofi Pasteur, said, “The people of Sanofi Pasteur are proud to help the world get rid of polio, as part of our public health mission. Thanks to our longstanding commitment to polio eradication–in partnership with WHO, UNICEF, GAVI, CDC, Rotary International and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation–we are making it possible to finish the job.”