Vaccine and Pharmaceutical Technologies

Advocacy and public policy

Shaping strategies for improved health outcomes

For more than 30 years, working closely with partners and key stakeholders in the space of immunization and pharmaceutical product development and introduction, PATH has played a global leadership role in championing appropriate technology solutions, policies, and practices that help to ensure vaccines and essential medicines products are deployed to the right place, at the right time, and in the right condition. Highlights include:

Making the case for ideal product attributes

To protect temperature-sensitive products from damage and to achieve expanded immunization coverage and impact as new vaccines are introduced, PATH is working to optimize the presentation and packaging for new vaccines through participation in the Vaccine Presentation and Packaging Advisory Group (VPPAG). Established in 2007 by the GAVI Alliance, the VPPAG provides a forum for public health stakeholders, vaccine manufacturers, and other industry members to reach consensus on and facilitate improvements in the presentation and packaging of vaccine products that are specially designed for resource-constrained markets. In collaboration with the WHO, PATH is also working to advance policy guidelines for controlled-temperature chain strategies, such as labeling certain vaccines for higher temperature storage. At the same time, we are a member of the UNICEF-led Cold Chain and Logistics Taskforce that helps to improve vaccine supply systems and equipment. In addition, PATH has a long history contributing to the development of WHO Performance, Quality, and Safety (PQS) prequalification specifications for vaccine technologies and related medical waste devices through involvement in PQS working groups.

Informing injection safety policies and standards

As one of the first organizations to advocate for specific classes of safe injection devices, PATH, in collaboration with multiple partners, has designed, developed, tested, patented, licensed, and/or facilitated the availability of multiple technologies that address different issues related to injection safety. These have included the Uniject™ prefilled injection device, the SoloShot™ autodisable syringe, disposable‐syringe jet injectors, and safety syringes (syringes with built‐in reuse prevention and/or needlestick protection features).

At the global level, PATH has informed key policies for injection safety by providing, for example, contributions to a joint WHO-UNICEF-UNFPA statement in 1999 on the use of autodisable syringes by immunization programs. UNICEF has procured more than 1.3 billion autodisable syringes each year for use in developing-country immunization programs since 2007.1 UNICEF also initiated replacement of standard disposable syringes with reuse-prevention syringes for vaccine reconstitution in 2009.

At the country level, PATH’s work to introduce new technologies and provide technical assistance for health care waste management under the Making Medical Injections Safer project led to significant policy shifts around the world, including improved national standards/guidelines for injection safety in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya and the development of national health care waste management plans in Nigeria, Mozambique, Kenya, and Tanzania.

1. UNICEF. 2009 AD syringe projections: quantities and pricing. New York: UNICEF; 2009.