June 14, 2011 Sakal Times
Serum's Vaccine will
be world's most affordable
Poonawalla makes far-reaching
pledge to GAVI in London
City-based Serum Institute
of India has made a commitment to cut the price of its penta-valent
vaccine by 60 % and make it available to the world community at US$
1.75 (about Rs. 100) per dose - the lowest possible cost in the world.
This was pledged by Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla, CMD, Serum Institute, at a
gathering of global donors and international healthcare agencies
organised by GAVI - the Geneva based Global Alliance for Vaccines and
Immunisation at London.
Pent-valent vaccine helps protect children against
five potential killers - diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis,
hepatitis-B & haemophilus influenza type B.
Setup by the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI has pledged to raise US$ 3.7 billion
and immunise 243 million children across the world. Dr. Poonawalla made
the announcement in the presence of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who attended the pledging
conference. He said, "The very
genesis of Serum Institute was a quest to make vaccines more
affordable for the common man.
with GAVI serves as a good platform for us to reach out to those poor
nations and bring comfort to millions of underprivileged across the
"While we recognise our moral responsibility to keep these vaccines
affordable, I strongly believe that it is
appropriate for other
manufacturers, especially the big pharma companies to also follow our lead
and make vaccines available at more affordable prices; otherwise our
effort to offer vaccines at lower prices will be defeated," he added.
Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla,
CMD of Serum Institute of India, along with British Prime Minister
David Cameron & Bill Gates, co-founder, Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation
pledging conference held in London.
Dr. Poonawalla called on global donors to ensure long term funding beyond
2015, and urged them to consider the boons of vaccination for children in
the most vulnerable countries. Serum Institute, which exports to 130
nations is also developing affordable rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines
for GAVI and expects to get WHO approval for these.