Canada’s New Government Doubles Its Contribution to the Global Effort to Develop and Produce Vaccines for Diseases in Developing Countries

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The following News Release or Speech has just been posted on the Finance Canada Site.

February 9, 2007

Rome, Italy – The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced that Canada’s New Government is contributing US$200 million for the Advance Market Commitment (AMC) to create a pneumococcal vaccine. This initiative is part of a global effort to develop vaccines that will benefit the world’s poorest nations.

Minister Flaherty, who was making the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages, was joined by Italian Economy and Finance Minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz.

“Today’s announcement builds on Canada’s proud tradition of assisting developing countries through improved health care and a higher standard of living,” said Minister Flaherty. “Vaccination has been clearly shown to be one of the most effective ways to fight infectious diseases around the globe, and this initiative has the potential to save millions of lives.”

The AMC is designed to create stronger incentives for industry to develop and produce vaccines that would meet the specific needs of developing countries. Participating donors will make a financial commitment towards the purchase cost of these vaccines. The AMC also aims to create an affordable market for vaccines in the long run, with a requirement that firms continue to supply developing countries with the vaccine after AMC funding concludes.

“The AMC is a results-based, cost-effective initiative which ensures funding occurs only once eligible vaccines are demanded by developing countries,” said Minister Verner. “This innovative commitment is consistent with Canada’s aid effectiveness agenda as it allows us to foster opportunities with other donor countries, while aligning our common global health objectives. Together, we can save lives.”

Today’s announcement doubles the Canadian commitment to support the pneumococcal AMC pilot made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Group of Eight (G8) Summit last July in St. Petersburg, Russia.

A pneumococcal AMC is estimated to cost a total of US$1.5 billion and run for about 10 years. The first vaccine purchases are expected to begin in 2010. Worldwide, pneumococcal diseases kill more than 1.6 million people each year.

Today’s announcement was made on the eve of the meeting of Group of Seven (G7) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Essen, Germany. During that meeting discussions will centre around International Monetary Fund reform, energy efficiency and climate change, and the next steps needed to encourage more open global trade.

A backgrounder on the AMC commitment and Canada’s contribution is attached.

For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

David Gamble
Media Relations
Department of Finance

Nicole Lascelle
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency

BACKGROUNDER: Canada and the Advance Market Commitment for Pneumococcal Vaccines

SOURCE: Dept of Finance


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