The seminar highlighted the successful results of various initiatives promoting access to medicines to fight major pandemics (air-ticket levy financing UNITAID), to accelerate vaccination (IFFIm/GAVI Alliance), and to ensure viable research (advance market commitments-AMCs). The focus was on gains in terms of efficiency and impact (lower costs of medicines and vaccines) and on developments in this regard (patent pools).
Philippe Douste-Blazy, Chair of UNITAID, pointed out that UNITAID funded treatment for 8 of the 10 children being treated for HIV in the world. The air-ticket levy in addition to multiyear budgetary contributions helped raise nearly $2 billion in four years. Action by the GAVI Alliance helped prevent 3.9 million deaths by distributing vaccines to poor people in 19 countries by raising funds in the bond market backed by a sovereign guarantee, with a 90% reduction in prices.
The pilot project for advance market commitments is expected to provide funds to purchase 600 million vaccine doses by 2023 and prevent 700,000 deaths from pneumococcal disease. WHO presented its idea of a micro-tax on tobacco (a five, three or one cent tax on a pack of cigarettes depending on each country’s income), which could raise over $7 billion a year worldwide.
A portion of proceeds from this tax (30%) could go to international actions. The Global Fund stressed the importance of debt swap mechanisms (debt-to-health) with the support of Germany , as well as encouraging voluntary consumer contributions (RED products, partnerships with stock market indexes such as the Dow Jones Global Fund 50 Index).
The United Kingdom , Brazil and the Gates Foundation confirmed their commitment to such mechanisms.