Select Committee on Science and Technology Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by UK Vaccine Industry Group

  The UK Vaccine Industry Group (UVIG) is pleased to have given evidence to the Committee and welcomes the opportunity to provide additional information that will help inform further discussions.

  The Committee asked for a further breakdown of vaccines licensed and available in the UK yet potentially underused; and an indication of future developments for the UK market.

  Vaccines continue to rank amongst the most important contributions to public health in the UK. The previously immense burden of morbidity and mortality associated with "common" diseases is now rare. However, UVIG believes that more can be achieved by an overall programme to fight infectious diseases that includes promoting greater access to licensed vaccines, planning more thoroughly for the introduction of new vaccines, targeting previously unmanageable infectious diseases, and undertaking effective dialogue with stakeholders.

  A summary of vaccines licensed and available in the UK but currently under-utilised is attached (Annex A). Development and implementation of policy to ensure greater uptake of these vaccines amongst the at-risk groups will deliver public health benefits and have the potential to promote more effective use of NHS resources.

  Furthermore, with reference to future developments all seven UVIG member companies have research and development programmes covering a wide range of disease areas. These R&D activities are undertaken at research facilities in the UK and abroad. Currently UVIG member companies are responsible for 72 separate vaccine R&D projects (Annex B).

  UVIG believes that there is an opportunity to realise the benefits from this R&D programme as part of the public health agenda. The process by which policy is developed and implemented must be reviewed to create a more transparent, consultative and inclusive environment through which industry, and other stakeholders, can deliver more efficiently and effectively against agreed priorities.

  In the experience of UVIG member companies, messages from the Department of Health relating to priorities and timings are inconsistent, non-consultative and likely to change at relatively short notice. This hinders greatly the R&D and manufacturing planning process for individual UVIG member companies that in turn can adversely effect implementation of vaccination policy in the UK.

  There is one notable exception. The Department of Health and the industry worked together, effectively and efficiently, to develop the conjugate Meningitis C vaccine and implement policy. UVIG urges the Committee to recommend that this experience should become standard practice in terms of an Industry Policy for the Department of Health.

  Once again, UVIG was pleased to have been able to contribute to this important review. If you or your colleagues have any additional queries or would like further clarification on this or any matter please do not hesitate to contact me.

Ian Kingston, Chair

UK Vaccine Industry Group

31 March 2003

Annex A

DiseaseCurrent UK Policy Estimated coverageComment
Hepatitis BDefined risk groups <50per cent Profile of the disease and importance of vaccination increasing, eg Sexual Health Strategy and Getting Ahead of the Curve.

WHO recommended universal vaccination policy to be implemented by 1997.

A JCVI sub-committee is currently re-considering policy options for the UK.

InfluenzaOver 65s

defined adult risk groups
~70 per cent;

<50 per cent
Coverage of at-risk groups <65 years is low because individuals are harder to identify.

Low coverage rates compounded by exclusion from primary care incentive schemes that apply to the over 65s.

Many of the at-risk groups would be covered by reducing the lower age limit for universal vaccination to 50 years. The USA has now implemented this lower age limit.

PneumococcalOver 75s; defined adult risk groups 20-40 per cent As for influenza, coverage of at risk groups low due to difficulties in identification, and exclusion from primary care incentive schemes.

Strep pneumococcalVery specific in infants (conjugatge vaccine).

Adult risk groups (polysaccharide vaccine)
N/a Under consideration for inclusion in the infant schedule.

Implementation of policy to protect adult risk groups very variable between the four nations.

VaricellaNone published. JCVI recommendation referring to healthcare workers and contacts of vulnerable groups available in public minutes of the May 2002 meeting. Negligible Date of DH publication of the JCVI recommendation not available.

Annex B


  This annex includes an extract of the "PharmaProjects" database showing recorded prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines in development at the per-clinical, phase I, II, or III stages.

  The PharmaProjects database gives a good overview of the extent of vaccines research by disease target, sponsoring company or organisation, and phase of development.

  A numeric summary of the projects included shows a significant role of UVIG member companies at all stages of development but particularly in later stage (Phase III) projects.
Phase IIIPhase II Phase IPre-clinical Total
Total projects1457 45185301
Of which funded by a UVIG member company 6211332 72
UVIG per cent43 per cent 37 per cent29 per cent17 per cent 24 per cent

  Source: PharmaProjects February 2003.

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