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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 2, 2000


                             March 2, 2000

Today, President Clinton Will Meet With Leaders of Industry, Foundations, and International Organizations to Announce New Partnerships to Develop and Deliver Vaccines For Diseases -- Including HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis - For Developing Countries. In his State of the Union Address, the President said, "I ask the private sector and our partners around the world to join us in embracing this cause. We can save millions of lives together, and we ought to do it." At this meeting, key leaders of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, international organizations, foundations, and the public health community will endorse the President's Millennium Vaccine Initiative, released last month, and announce new commitments to develop and deliver vaccines to developing countries. The President will also call upon Secretary Shalala to convene a meeting of experts from industry, government, and academia to address impediments to vaccine development in the private sector and to strengthen public-private partnerships.

The President And The CEOs Of The Four Largest Vaccine Manufacturers Will Announce Unprecedented Levels Of Corporate Support To Vaccinate The World's Children. Today, industry will respond to the President's call with important new steps as CEOs of the four largest vaccines manufacturers -- Merck and Co., Inc., American Home Products Corporation, Glaxo SmithKline Beecham, and Aventis Pharma AG -- will announce that they will donate millions of doses of state-of-the-art vaccines -- worth more than $150 million -- to those in the developing world and make a renewed commitment to step up research and development on vaccines for HIV/AIDS and malaria.
- Merck and Co. will donate five million doses, worth $100 million, of RECOMBIVAX - HB - a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B and will commit to develop AIDS vaccines for strains of the virus found worldwide; - American Home Products Corp. will announce a donation of 10 million doses of Haemophilus influenza type-B (Hib) conjugate vaccine to GAVI to protect more than 3 million children in developing nations; - SmithKline Beecham will announce expansion of its malaria vaccine program and also renew its pledge to donate $1 billion to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis);
- Aventis Pharma will announce a donation of 50 million doses of polio vaccine to Africa.

These Private Sector Commitments Build On The Administration's Millennium Vaccine Initiative, Announced by the President In His State of the Union Address. The major components of the Millennium Vaccine Initiative include:
- $50 million in the President's FY2001 budget as a contribution to the vaccine purchase fund of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI);
- Presidential leadership to ensure that the World Bank and other multilateral development banks dedicate an additional $400 million to $900 million annually of their low-interest rate loans to health care services;
- Significant increases in federally funded basic research on diseases that affect developing nations;
- A new tax credit for sales of vaccines for infectious diseases to accelerate their invention and production; - A call to our G-7 partners to join our efforts to ensure a future market for these vaccines.

The President Will Also Recognize the Unprecedented Contributions From The Philanthropic Community. This includes a $750 million contribution from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the vaccine purchase fund of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. The President will also praise new models for public-private partnerships, including the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, which will announce that it will invest more than $10 million this year to triple the number of AIDS vaccine candidates moving toward trials.

The Scope Of The Problem of Infectious Disease In Developing Countries: - While sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 1/10 of the global population, over 70% of individuals infected with AIDS globally live there. There is a 60% chance that a 15-year old in Zambia will die of AIDs today. Thirteen million sub-Saharan African children have now lost one or both of their parents to AIDS.
- One-fourth of all deaths each year worldwide -- 13 million people -- are the result of infectious diseases. Over 8 million children die each year of centuries-old diseases -- and more than 3 million of these deaths could be prevented by existing vaccines. - Immunization is one of the most cost effective health interventions. It costs only $15 to immunize a child, yet in developing countries, children remain 10 times more likely to die of a vaccine-preventable disease than those in the industrialized world. Twenty percent of children worldwide lack access to basic immunization services. - Only 2% of all global biomedical research is devoted to the major killers in the developing world.

Details of the Corporate Commitments Include: - Merck will donate one million doses, worth $100 million, of RECOMBIVAX -- HB -- a vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B -- over five years. Merck will collaborate with the GAVI to identify countries that will most benefit from this vaccine. Merck also reaffirmed its commitment to the discovery of new vaccines for diseases of global significance, including HIV/AIDS. Merck committed to developing AIDS vaccines for strains of the virus found not only in the industrialized world, but in the poorest countries as well.

The President's Millennium Vaccine Initiative: In his State of the Union address, President Clinton called for concerted international action to combat infectious diseases, which kill more than eight million children worldwide and orphan millions more. Recognizing that vaccines are a critical, cost-effective weapon in the fight against these diseases, the President announced a multi-part Millennium Vaccine Initiative:
- A new financial commitment to purchase and deliver existing vaccines in poor countries. As Vice President Gore told the U. N. Security Council earlier this month, the Administration's FY 2001 budget includes a proposed $50 million contribution to the vaccine purchase fund of the GAVI.

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