Amidst the barrage of headlines about global economic hardship and unequal access to resources, you might have missed the good news of a corporation that has pledged to sell all of its product at cost to poor countries. What a difference that will make.
Pfizer says it will offer its full suite of patented drugs, including cancer treatments, on a not-for-profit basis to 1.2 billion people living in 45 low-income countries. This has the potential to treat nearly 1 million new cancer cases in these countries each year and also covers antibiotics to combat infections that claim the lives of roughly 1.5 million people each year.
From Fierce Pharma:
Riding high on the unprecedented success of its COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer said on Wednesday that it will make 23 of its medicines—many of them patented—available to 45 low-income countries at a not-for-profit price.
Pfizer revealed the initiative, dubbed “An Accord for a Healthier World,” during the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week in Davos, Switzerland. It is designed to “reduce the health inequities that exist between many low-income countries and the rest of the world,” Pfizer said.
During the coronavirus pandemic, those inequities became painfully apparent as wealthy countries were the first to be supplied with products to combat the disease.
As the company profiting most from the pandemic—thanks to record-shattering sales of its Comirnaty vaccine—Pfizer drew sharp criticism for the uneven distribution of shots and for initially resisting calls to share its intellectual property rights. In a report released during the WEF, Oxfam said Pfizer has sold the most vaccines in the world but has delivered the least to low-income countries, as a proportion of total deliveries.
Under the new program, Pfizer will supply Comirnaty to these countries, as well as its COVID-19 oral antiviral Paxlovid. The initiative is designed to reach 1.2 billion people living in the 45 countries. Pfizer urged other companies to join the effort.
Speaking on CNBC on Wednesday morning, Pfizer’s CEO said the company first discussed the initiative back in 2019.
“Right now, it’s about making a dream happen,” Bourla said. “When I took over, my entire leadership team made some plans for the next five years. One of them was by year 2023, we would reduce by 50% the number of people on the planet who cannot afford our medicines.”
Read more at Fierce Pharma