Dr. Joel Calmet, Senior Director of Communications at Sanofi-Pasteur
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Sanofi Pasteur’s Approach to Vaccine Deployment
Dr. Joël Calmet, Senior Director of Communications at Sanofi-Pasteur, discusses the company’s efforts to bring vaccines to underserved patient populations.
PV: Why is patient access to vaccines in disadvantaged countries still a challenge?
Calmet: Despite continuous progress in vaccine development for life-threatening diseases, ensuring access to these medicines for the world’s most disadvantaged populations remains a major challenge for health systems throughout the world. One of the challenges is closely related to security. The poorest parts of the globe are frequently affected by war. Solving this is a matter of international politics. It’s hard to solve the issues related to health when they are directly linked to security.
PV: What impact do public-private partnerships have in developing countries?
Calmet: We believe that partnerships play a critical role in health systems, especially in the most deprived regions of the world. Partnerships and cooperation between members of the immunization community are essential if vaccines are to be supplied to those who need them most. Public-private partnerships have an important role to improve access and build resilience in health systems. The situation is improving and we measure the number of new vaccines via international solidarity to various programs. There is also a roadmap that is being designed for future introductions and new vaccines everywhere in the world.
The beauty of public-private partnerships is that there is not just one kind of partnership. There are many options to address gaps that could not have been addressed otherwise.
We believe Sanofi Pasteur has important lessons to share about the shape of the future of public-private partnerships that have been learned from our 30-year effort to eradicate polio. Sanofi Pasteur has played an important role in providing the polio vaccine to millions of the world’s most disadvantaged populations. We have been actively building partnerships to strengthen health systems, especially in the most deprived regions of the world for decades.
But to be successful, we need long-term planning and commitments from governments and the volunteer sector if the industry is to work as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible. We also need to think about how the private sector becomes a fully integrated partner and how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) remain independent and government retains its unique role in setting policy priorities. We don’t yet have all the answers, but we need to look for them together.
PV: Why is it important for pharma companies such as Sanofi Pasteur to be part of these partnerships?
Calmet: At Sanofi Pasteur, we want everyone to have access to our vaccines — no matter where they live. To help achieve this, we work in partnership with the immunization community, including policy makers, donors, and NGOs. Sanofi Pasteur supports its partners by providing vaccines in adapted packs and at tiered prices to improve access in lower income countries and the most deprived regions.
We have ongoing partnerships with a number of international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Red Cross, through which we supply vaccines where they are needed most. We also are a member of the global Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) alliance.
Because eradicating polio is a long-term undertaking, we know that we have to continuously reinvest in our operations to make sure that production is sustainable. It will take true collaboration between industry, policymakers, and health regulators to build a sustainable process to produce and supply vaccines for generations to come.(PV)
Sanofi Pasteur’s Public-Private Partnerships
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI)
GAVI was founded in 2000 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, and vaccine manufacturers, including Sanofi Pasteur. Committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health through the use of vaccines, GAVI’s driving objective is to make a critical contribution to global immunization goals.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI)
GPEI, spearheaded by national governments, WHO, Rotary International, the U.S.’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF is the largest public health initiative the world has ever known. As a key partner of GPEI, Sanofi Pasteur, since 1988, the company has provided more than 6 billion doses of oral polio vaccine to UNICEF and the company provides today the vast majority of inactivated polio vaccines needed in the frame of WHO’s Polio End Game strategy.
Epivac: Building Infrastructure
EpiVacPlus was initiated in 2002 as a Sanofi Pasteur contribution to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance and implemented by the Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP). The program was developed in partnership with national governments of eligible countries and participating universities, in collaboration with the WHO, UNICEF, the Vaccine Fund, and other partners working in Africa.
Although Sanofi Pasteur’s contribution to this program has recently ended, the long-term commitment is one of the most striking contributions from private industry to capacity building and health system strengthening. The program is now called Epivac+.