Press Release – GlaxoSmithKline
GSK New Zealand to provide vaccines to target diseases causing high rates of death and illness among Fiji’s women and children Media release
GSK New Zealand to provide vaccines to target diseases causing high rates of death and illness among Fiji’s women and children
4 October 2012: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has entered into a three-year contract with the Fiji Ministry of Health to provide vaccines targeting diseases that currently cause high levels of mortality and serious illness among Fijian women and children.
Welcoming the contract, Fiji’s Minister for Health, Dr Neil Sharma, said the introduction of these new vaccines is in line with World Health Organization recommendations that effective vaccines be introduced into national immunisation programmes to guarantee maximum benefit.
Under the agreement, three GSK vaccines will be added to the Fiji National Immunisation Programme: Cervarix for the prevention of cervical cancer caused by the Human Papillomavirus,1 Rotarix for the prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis,2 which is the leading cause of severe diarrhoea in young children,3,4 and Synflorix for the prevention of pneumococcal meningitis, middle ear infections and pneumonia.5
This pneumococcal vaccine will be of significant benefit to Fijian children because as well as helping prevent deadly meningitis, it also protects against pneumonia5 which is a common cause of hospital admissions for Fijian children under five years of age.6
Similarly, the children of Fiji are expected to benefit greatly from vaccination against gastroenteritis, which is one of the main causes of child mortality in the country.7
Fiji has some of the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world, with late detection of the disease resulting in a high mortality rate.8,9,10,11 Every year, 120 Fijian women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 66 die from the disease10 making it the most common cause of mortality in women due to cancer.10 Although cervical screening has been free in Fiji since 1993,8 uptake of the screening programme is low.8,9 With low rates of detection, treatment is delayed, so prevention through vaccination with Cervarix is expected to help reduce the burden of cervical cancer.
The three year contract has been tendered through GSK’s commitment to providing patients with access to medicines through flexible pricing in developing countries.
Anna Stove, General Manager GSK NZ said, “I am very delighted we are able to partner with the Fiji Government to supply these three critical vaccines. These vaccines will have a significant positive health impact on people’s lives, and reduce the current disease burden on the Fiji population as a whole.
“Globally, GSK is committed to making medicines available to more people. This is a commitment that we share in New Zealand and the Pacific, where we are dedicated to providing vaccines to all those in need, irrespective of cost or where they live,” Ms Stove said.