PAHO: Recommendation Calls for Exploring Collaboration between Public Vaccine Producers in the Americas

PAHO: Recommendation Calls for Exploring Collaboration between Public Vaccine Producers in the Americas

PAHO’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Vaccine-preventable Diseases “…recommended that opportunities for collaboration between public vaccine producers in the Americas be explored with a view to incentivizing regional production in order to meet local needs. This recommendation arises from the challenges currently being faced to guarantee a steady supply of priority vaccines and maintain the achievements to date in controlling and eradicating such diseases as poliomyelitis, measles, and rubella.” The Technical Advisory Group recommended that PAHO/WHO convene a working group, bringing together representatives of public vaccine producers in Latin America and the Caribbean, “to identify common areas of activity and draft a regional strategy for vaccine research, development, and production.”

The announcement noted that there are 40 vaccine providers in the world, 15 of which produce 95% of the total output, and 70% of vaccine production takes place in developing countries. In the Americas there are six public sector vaccine manufacturers, located in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, and Venezuela. In addition, “the supply of traditional vaccines against polio, yellow fever, and whooping cough (also called pertussis), diphtheria, and tetanus continues to be erratic and often falls short of meeting the needs of the countries in the Region, which acquire them at an affordable price through the PAHO Revolving Fund. These vaccines are still essential.” However, TAG noted in the conclusions of its meeting that “they are no longer of commercial interest to the pharmaceutical companies, which in many cases have ceased to produce them or else have turned their interest toward the preparation of new combined vaccines.”

According to the conclusions of the meeting, “the establishment of agreements for technology transfer between the transnational pharmaceutical industry and producers in the Region has not yet been translated into improved local capacity to produce new vaccines. Hence, there is need for more in-depth analysis of the role that regional producers can play in meeting the needs of the countries of the Americas for high-quality, safe, and effective vaccines.” The PAHO/WHO Technical Advisory Group on Vaccine-preventable Diseases met from October 17 to 19 in Washington, D.C., to examine current issues and make recommendations on vaccination against polio, rotavirus, whooping cough, measles, rubella, and cholera, as well as to consider prospects for ramping up regional vaccine production capacity.