New Zealanders could get better access to new and improved vaccines, including some developed in New Zealand, following a merger between industry body Medicines New Zealand and its vaccine counterpart, the Vaccines Industry Association of New Zealand (VIANZ).
The merger means Medicines New Zealand will represent the vaccines branches of bioCSL, GSK, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, and Sanofi pharmaceutical companies. The formal announcement of the merger will be made at a Parliamentary reception hosted by Associate Minister of Health Hon Jo Goodhew on Wednesday, July 31.
"The merger makes good sense for both organisations. We share a number of goals and can achieve greater synergies through working together. We know that increasing access to immunisation is a key priority for this Government and we look forward to working together on further initiatives to achieve this goal," comments Medicines New Zealand chair, Heather Roy.
Mrs Roy says that by sharing resources and expertise and providing a single point of contact for all stakeholders, the two organisations will form a practical and effective partnership.
"Our industry understands how increasing demand for health services from a growing and ageing population is putting health budgets under pressure. "
While medicines increasingly play a part in keeping people well and managing disease, vaccines too have a vital role to play in preventing disease and protecting the health of our population.
"In New Zealand researchers are currently working on new vaccines for tuberculosis (TB), rotavirus and brain cancer. Local research often involves high level international collaboration and raises New Zealand's profile internationally."
Associate Professor Ian Hermans, a Malaghan Institute research group leader, will speak at this week's event of his team's groundbreaking collaboration with Capital and Coast DHB in a safety study of vaccination in combination with chemotherapy that could treat an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Dr Nikki Turner, director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) at the University of Auckland, will also speak on recent successes in improving access to vaccines and immunisation in New Zealand.
"The future for vaccines is exciting and promising. Medicines New Zealand looks forward to being the voice of this dynamic and innovative industry," says Mrs Roy.