Aspen Pharmacare in South Africa just announced a 10-year agreement with Serum Institute of India to manufacture, market and distribute four routine vaccines: pneumococcal, rotavirus, polyvalent meningococcal, and hexavalent. The agreement includes a technical transfer, and a fill-and-finish arrangement.
Candice Sehoma, MSF Access Campaign Advocacy Advisor in South Africa, responded to the announcement:
“This is a great example of South-South collaboration and is welcome and long-awaited news.
“African countries have always had to rely on international exports to access these four life-saving vaccines, so it will be an important step forward to be able to source them from a producer on the African continent.
“While this agreement is a step in the right direction, it still involves the actual drug substance being produced outside of the African continent and Aspen doing only ‘fill and finish’ of the vaccines, so the agreement should be expanded to include drug substance production and also include other African producers.
“The long-term goal should be for vaccines to be fully produced on the African continent by moving beyond reliance on drug substance produced elsewhere. The global community should be supporting this goal both financially and politically.
“Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, should formally commit to purchasing vaccines made on the African continent and fulfill the African Union’s call to source 30% of Gavi’s future vaccines procurement from African manufacturers.
“More information about the countries covered within the agreement should be made public.”