The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a public-private partnership to expand access to a contraceptive implant for more than 27 million women in low-income countries.
Developed through a partnership between the Gates Foundation, Bayer HealthCare, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund, and the governments of Norway, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the United States, the Jadelle Access Program will work to make the long-acting reversible contraceptive implant available over the next six years at a cost 50 percent lower than the current price.
Under the agreement, Bayer has already reduced the per-unit price of the implant, Jadelle, from $18 to $8.50 in more than fifty countries, including those deemed least likely to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for maternal and child health by 2015. Pre-qualified by the World Health Organization since September 2009, the device provides effective contraception for up to five years. The program is expected to help avert more than 28 million unintended pregnancies between 2013 and 2018 and prevent approximately 280,000 infant and 30,000 maternal deaths while yielding an estimated $250 million in health cost savings.
The partnership hopes to build on momentum generated at the July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, where global leaders pledged to provide an additional 120 million women in developing countries with access to contraceptives by 2020. More than 200 million women and girls in developing countries who do not want to get pregnant lack access to modern contraceptives, and while only 1 percent to 2 percent of women who use contraceptives currently use implants, a significantly greater proportion would choose implants if they were consistently available and supported by counseling and clinical services.
"Innovation is the key to our commercial success and at the same time the basis of our social commitment," said Bayer HealthCare CEO Jörg Reinhardt. "We are delighted to make our life-enhancing products accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of their income or where they live, thus making a substantial contribution to improving the health of women and children in developing countries."
"In July 2012, global leaders pledged to provide women around the world with greater access to more contraceptive options, and today, we are one step closer to delivering on this promise," said Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates. "We hope this will be the first of many innovative partnerships that will help give women and girls the power to create better lives for themselves and their families."