Vaccines are one of the greatest public health success stories of the last two centuries.
- Engaging in innovative Research and Development (R&D) to provide vaccines that address vital global health needs
- Reducing the gap between vaccine availability in developed countries and the introduction of vaccines in the developing world through the timely registration and introduction of our vaccines
- Developing creative solutions and participating in partnerships that will help increase access to our vaccines, especially in resource-constrained markets. We also are focused on improving our products, increasing our manufacturing capacity, lowering our prices and addressing overall implementation challenges
Vaccines have resulted in the global eradication of smallpox and the elimination of polio from the Western Hemisphere and much of Asia. In addition, vaccines for diseases like measles, pertussis and diphtheria have dramatically reduced childhood mortality worldwide. However, because of gaps in areas such as the healthcare infrastructure and available workforce in low and some middle income countries, preventive measures such as immunization programs can be difficult to deliver, yet they are particularly critical to the health and economies of these countries. Merck is committed to working with partners to help prevent disease and save lives through a comprehensive approach of developing new and innovative vaccines, working to make them available and affordable to those who need them globally, and establishing programs to help address implementation challenges.
In September 2012, a new partnership was launched that will help address vaccine access challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. The Republic of Uganda, through the Ministry of Health (MoH) and supported by Merck, initiated a national vaccination program with GARDASIL® [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16 and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant]. Cervical cancer is the most frequent cancer diagnosed among women in Uganda,1 and incidence rates of the disease in the country are about three times the global average.2
Through this agreement with Merck, the vaccination program is being implemented with 460,000 doses of GARDASIL donated to 12 districts in Uganda, enough to vaccinate approximately 140,000 eligible girls 9 to 13 years of age over a two-year period. The program represents the first phase of Uganda’s national roll-out plan for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Uganda is anticipated to scale up to a full national HPV vaccination program with support from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) alliance in 2014.
For additional details on Merck’s partnerships and programs to expand access to GARDASIL and ROTATEQ® (Rotavirus Vaccine, Live, Oral, Pentavalent), see the Cervical Cancer and Rotavirus sections of this report.
In May 2013, Merck Vaccines President , Dr. Julie Gerberding, and Merck Vaccines Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Mark Feinberg, joined scientists from around the world to sign a scientific declaration on polio eradication. The Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a new strategy to reach and sustain eradication of polio by 2018. The plan was developed in consultation with a range of technical experts, governments, funding partners, and stakeholders, and received unanimous support from the World Health Organization Executive Board in January. More than 400 scientists, doctors, and technical experts from 75 countries have endorsed the declaration, and more than 25 universities and schools of public health have publically shown their support for the declaration and all it represents.
Merck collaborates with a broad set of global stakeholders to improve access to vaccines. We help inform the vaccine policy environment through stakeholder engagement with important international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the GAVI Alliance Board and UNICEF. Additionally, Merck engages stakeholders from regional organizations, such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and from national organizations, contributing to the development and implementation of regional and national vaccination programs.
Through active engagement of the GAVI Alliance, Merck helped to foster an environment that led to mobilization of funding and partner technical support for new vaccines introduction in the worlds’ poorest countries. This engagement included the sharing of best practices that had been gleaned from several of our vaccine access initiatives in GAVI-eligible countries. Focusing on the anticipated need for our HPV and rotavirus vaccines, GARDASIL and ROTATEQ, we collaborated with GAVI and other members of the Alliance, including UNICEF, to understand estimated country demand for the vaccines over time, and to determine what were the lowest possible access prices that could be sustainably offered to GAVI and UNICEF for the vaccine volumes to be delivered to these poorest countries. In 2013, Merck was awarded a significant portion of the first UNICEF HPV vaccines tender for GAVI countries. GAVI is expected to support the introduction of HPV vaccines in 28 countries by the end of 2017. Also, in addition to a 2012 GAVI/UNICEF award to supply ROTATEQ to Rwanda, in 2013 Merck received a second award to supply ROTATEQ to an additional three African countries. Merck’s partnership with GAVI and other Alliance partners is helping to ensure that infants and girls in the poorest countries have access to rotavirus and HPV vaccines.
Last Updated July 29, 2013