TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Sanofi to provide UNICEF with polio vaccine

Sanofi Pasteur announced on Friday that it will sell significant quantities of inactivated polio vaccine to UNICEF at a reduced price and make it available based on country needs and vaccination plans.

Using a joint price support mechanism developed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sanofi will be able to provide IPV at a price of approximately $1 per dose to 73 of the world's poorest countries. Sanofi said the announcement demonstrates the company's commitment to the goal of eradicating polio by 2018.

"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." Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization, said. "This development is a strong signal that polio eradication partners remain fully committed to a world without polio."

The WHO recommends that by the end of 2015, all children routinely receive at least one dose of IPV in more than 120 countries that solely use oral polio vaccine. IPV is a vaccine that has been used in the majority of the developed world for years. Sanofi said that switching from an oral polio vaccine to IPV is critical to ending transmission and improving immunization rates.

"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," Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said. "This is a significant advancement to ensure every child, no matter where they live, will benefit from access to this essential vaccine."

The GAVI Alliance, a global immunization partnership, will make IPV available for inclusion in routine immunization schedules in the world's 73 poorest countries.

Polio remains endemic in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Estimates show that failure to eradicate polio from the last remaining countries could result in as many as 200,000 new cases worldwide annually within 10 years.