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Advance Market Commitments

The G8 countries took a step closer to implementing Advance Market Commitments for new vaccines in their discussions in St Petersburg this weekend. Though the Summit was dominated by the Middle East and by energy security, the leaders of the world's richest nations also discussed the global fight against infectious diseases and their commitments to support Africa.

The G8 communique supports innovative mechanisms for infectious diseases, which include the International Finance Facility for Immunization which has been championed by the British, the International Drug Purchase Facility which has been supported mainly by France, and Advance Market Commitments, which has been previously endorsed by the G8 finance ministers and spearheaded by Italy at their request. These mechanisms are complementary, not alternatives, as they deal with providing sources of finance for drugs and vaccines, purchasing existing medicines, and creating commercial incentives for the development of new vaccines.

The G-8 statement on infectious diseases lists the steps which individual countries will take. These include statements of support for Advance Market Commitments by Canada, Italy, UK, US and Russia which look forward to the launch of a pilot in 2006. Canada and the UK indicate that they specifically support an AMC for a vaccine against pneumococcal infections, which both the the US and Italy are also believed to support. Some of the G8 are also interested in exploring an AMC for malaria vaccines. The Canadians have pledged C$100 million towards a pilot for pneumo - the first specific offer of funds for an AMC.

This is fairly good progress, particularly following a few months when momentum appeared to be sagging. The World Bank and GAVI have led a significant effort on the technical details of designing and implementing an AMC pilot, and a broad coalition of key stakeholders rallied together to keep up the pressure on international governments. Behind-the-scenes briefings, together with press articles, letters and other calls for action on an AMC, helped to overcome bureaucratic inertia and keep the idea moving forward.

The build-up to the G8 meeting saw considerable interest in an AMC from leading media and a clear consensus in favor of the initiative from leaders in industry, public health, development and public policy:

The next steps will be for those countries within the G8 who are eager to implement a pilot proposal for an AMC to establish a process in an existing institution - possibly GAVI - to take it forward, and for these countries to reach out to other possible donors, including countries outside the G8 and perhaps foundations, to participate in the program.

Our verdict: so far so good. We are proud that CGD helped to foster an initiative that has generated such broad support within the G8. We are hopeful that the process will move forward rapidly to implement an AMC which both accelerates the introduction of new vaccines, and demonstrates the utility of the idea as a tool for further increasing investment in, and access to, additional new vaccines that will save millions of lives each year in developing countries.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.