, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 271-278
Date: 24 Aug 2012

Vaginal microbicides for the prevention of HIV/AIDS: assessment of the potential market

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This project, initiated and supervised by the European Commission’s AIDS programme for developing countries, has explored the potential demand for a vaginal microbicide product amongst women in the reproductive age group. The research was conducted in 11 European and developing countries chosen to be broadly representative of the total market area. One of the stated objectives of the project was to stimulate interest on the part of large pharmaceutical manufacturers. The study was designed and executed as a commercial new product development exercise rather than an academic or social study. The project has been structured around a market research study focused primarily on a representative sample of women in the age range 16–45 in the main urban centres of each country and on the healthcare professionals who might be expected to advise them. The findings reveal a very high level of interest in such a product. That interest, driven by personal concern, translates into a strong likelihood of purchase — even among women with very low levels of disposable income and even at price levels twice that of a condom. Calculations of theoretical demand based upon the results of the survey, although undoubtedly in excess of those which would be commercially achievable in practice, are extremely encouraging and justify proceeding to the next stage of the new product development process. They also support the case for increased public-private partnership in microbicide development.