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Aspen pledges its support for equitable vaccine access for Africa

Pretoria, South Africa – Aspen, a global multinational specialty pharmaceutical company, earlier today participated in a high-level manufacturing seminar on manufacturing vaccines in Africa, hosted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The dialogue between Presidents Ramaphosa and Macron included discussions with leading scientists and captains of industry about vaccine solutions for Africa, strengthening the local public health systems, addressing the pandemic’s impact on Africa and, in particular, how Africa may expand its own manufacturing capacity to establish security of supply of vaccines across the continent.

Stephen Saad, Aspen Group Chief Executive said, “No country wants to see another suffer, yet vaccine nationalism has emerged as a notable challenge, especially considering that it is difficult to expect any country to export medical products before meeting the health needs of its own people. Aspen’s goal is to provide impetus to the common global understanding that we are not safe until we are all safe. The answer to equitable access to these and other critical lifesaving medicines is to capacitate Africa to serve its own people. I am, today, encouraged by the fact that Aspen has been able to assist in achieving this goal. It is, for the sake of health security and sustainability, critical that Africa collaborates with the international community to ensure security of demand, underwritten through long-term offtakes, and the facilitation of technology licenses and transfers.

Demand underwrite fosters investment confidence and, more importantly, allows factories to undertake planned investments, remain active, retaining and enhancing experience of the workforce on the continent.”

Aspen is committed to making sterile manufacturing capacity available for equitable vaccine access for Africa and has already had multiple engagements with the African Union, the African Centre for Disease Control and other key stakeholders on the contributions Aspen is able to render in this regard. This commitment would, however, require a substantial increase of its African sterile capacities.

“I am proud that Aspen, a global company, headquartered in South Africa and with roots deeply embedded in African soil, has shown that the requisite global skills, competence and capacities reside within Africa.”

“Aspen has been at the forefront of the fight against other global pandemics including HIV/AIDS, MDR TB in addition to, more recently, COVID-19. Aspen’s contribution to combatting this pandemic to date has been through its ongoing supply of dexamethasone and lifesaving anaesthetics, playing a leading role in this regard throughout Europe and globally. We are now expanding the role Aspen is playing in fighting COVID-19 by actively contributing to achieving equitable access to vaccines for less developed countries, with a particular focus on African countries. We are not asking for aid or funding. We will invest ourselves. All we ask is for a high level of certainty on sustainable demand and for assistance with licenses and technology transfers, so that Africa can lessen its reliance of being an importer of 99% of all its vaccines”, stressed Saad.

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