Friday, August 1, 2014
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Gates Foundation, Pfizer, offer plan for accessible contraceptives in developing nations

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Pfizer, USAID and UN try to provide injectable contraception in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Gates Foundation, Pfizer, offer plan for accessible contraceptives in developing nations

There are plenty of very technical medical issues afflicting millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but the public health situation is further complicated by population growth.

An April piece in the New York Times was the among those that explained the idea and a link is here.

A possible, partial solution to the systemic problem - and an issue of choice for individual women in those parts of the world - was announced Wednesday when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pulled together public and private groups to create a plan to provide three million women with affordable, accessible injectable contraceptives from 2013 through 2016, which amounts to 12 million doses.

A link to the Gates Foundation statement is here.

Pfizer, Inc., was among the organizations. The partnership includes the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations Population Fund and a PATH, a Seattle-based health-care organization, according to the Gates Foundation.

Pfizer, which is based in Manhattan and has operations in Collegeville, will contribute the reconfigured drug -- Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate) - in this situation, pending acceptance by European and African regulators. Uniject is working on a device so that the drug can be delivered in homes or villages, versus requiring women to travel greater distances to a health clinic. The three-month dose via injection is preferred by many women in those regions.

“Every woman, no matter how rich or poor, should have access to her preferred method of contraception to determine the number and timing of her children,” Chris Elias, president of Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in a statement. “This innovative partnership will bring modern contraceptive technology to women living in some of the world’s most remote regions.”

Enrico Liggeri helps lead Pfizer's efforts in Nigeria and East Africa.

“Pfizer is committed to increasing access in developing countries to its portfolio of reproductive health products," Liggeri said in the statement. "While the industry can take the lead in developing products suited to the needs of the market, it is largely through innovative private-public partnerships instead of donations alone that we can ensure the long term viability of the supply and distribution, and at the same time the sustainability of education toward healthier reproductive lifestyles.”

David Sell
About this blog
David Sell blogs about the region's pharmaceutical industry. Follow him on Facebook.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Reach David at dsell@phillynews.com.

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