HC Deb 13 September 2004 vol 424 cc1420-1W
Dr. Tonge

To Ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what resources he plans to commit to AIDS vaccine research in the next 10 years; [187466]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with the pharmaceutical industry regarding funding and facilities for the production of AIDS vaccine once developed. [187467]

Hilary Benn

In line with the recently published DFID Research Funding Strategy, we are committed to the global effort to find a vaccine for AIDS. DFID has committed £14 million in support of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) up to the end of this year and I recently met Dr. Seth Berkeley, who is president and chief executive the of IAVI, to discuss its work. The UK is also committed to work with our G8 colleagues. DFID supports the aims of the Global HIV and AIDS Vaccine Enterprise and are developing areas for UK engagement with the enterprise including potential financial support during the UKS G8 Presidency. Over the coming months DFID will be considering the resource framework for the three years commencing April 2005, including further support for IAVI and support for the Global Vaccine Enterprise.

In addition to this direct support, the UK has tax relief for investments in research into vaccines and other medicines for HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The Vaccines Reseal ch Relief is effective on expenditure from April 2003. It is too early to report on the success of the Vaccines Research Relief since company tax returns are retrospective in nature. The first claims are not expected until later this year. However, a programme of evaluation will be implemented once data begins to be received. It is important to bear in mind the long-term nature of research decisions and outcomes and the fact that the impact of the relief is likely to appear over the medium to long term.

DFID officials have been meeting regularly with pharmaceutical companies and business associations as part of our work on increasing access to medicines in developing countries. These meetings have dealt with issues such as the a affordability of existing medicines and other health technologies, and the need for increased research and development into new technologies—including vaccines for diseases disproportionately affecting developing countries.

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