Tuberculosis

02 November 2015

South Africa plugs TB vaccine gap

Cipla Medpro has sealed a deal to supply South Africans with a variety of vaccines, including BCG, which is administered to newly born infants to prevent tuberculosis.

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Cipla Medpro has entered into an agreement with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to provide South Africans with affordable and accessible vaccines, including BCG which is the only vaccine against tuberculosis (TB). BCG was recently out of stock.

"With this exclusive partnership, Cipla will have access to SII's current vaccine portfolio," Divian Govender, Cipla's Chief Business Development Officer, told Health24.

Cost-effective prices

Through this partnership Cipla, which is the South African subsidiary of Cipla LTD, will be able to supply a variety of vaccine classes including BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin), Measles, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Polio, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR).

Read: What about immunisation against TB?

Govender said Cipla Medpro expects to be very competitive with their pricing of vaccines used by the Department of Health (DoH) in the Expanded Programme for Immunisation (EPI).

"Cipla is committed to providing pharmaceuticals and vaccines at cost-effective prices, making quality medicines affordable, and advancing healthcare for all South Africans. We understand the burden on the country to supply affordable medicines and it is Cipla's firm intention to assist in this regard."

Cipla Medpro noted that its partnership with the SII, which has a presence in 140 countries, will be instrumental in addressing the national vaccine shortage.

Read: Flu jab linked to rare sleep disorder

There was a temporary shortage of the BCG vaccine that is administered to newly born infants to prevent tuberculosis. The BCG vaccine is on the World Health Organisation’s List of Essential Medicines‚ a list of the most important medication needed in a basic health system.

High quality, affordable vaccines

"Cipla was able to secure stock from SII and supply the DoH with the BCG vaccine via the Section 21 permit route," said Govender, adding that a second order of the BCG vaccine was being processed.

The deal agreement stipulates that Cipla Medpro will become the holder of all Medical Control Council (MCC) regulatory approvals such as product registrations and marketing authorisations.

Cipla Medpro has exclusivity and first right of refusal of the SII pipeline within South Africa.

"This Cipla Medpro SII agreement reflects again the complementarities of our two like-minded companies in bringing high quality, affordable vaccines to more countries," said Cipla Ltd Head of Vaccines Michel Baijot.

"We are confident that this agreement will support the DoH in rolling out its EPI," said SII CEO and Executive Director Adar Poonawalla.

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