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Pfizer pledges cost price drugs to 45 lower-income countries

Pfizer will supply all of its current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines on a not-for-profit basis to 45 lower-income countries and is talking to other big drug makers about similar steps.

Announcing an “accord for a healthier world” at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos (23-26 May), the company pledged to provide all of its products that are available in the US and Europe on a cost basis to 1.2bn people in all 27 low-income countries like Afghanistan and Ethiopia, plus 18 lower-middle-income countries, including Ghana.

The Guardian reports that Pfizer has been accused of “pandemic profiteering” over the huge profits it has generated from coronavirus-related medicines over the past two years. It made almost $15bn in sales in only three months from the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with Germany’s BioNTech and its new COVID pill for people at high risk of severe disease.

In Davos, George Poe Willliams, a nurse from Liberia, staged a “clap for pharma profits” in protest at the profits made by drug makers, some of which, including Pfizer, refuse to waive patents on COVID-19 vaccines.

Under its new initiative, Pfizer is working closely with healthcare officials in Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda to provide expertise to support diagnosis, education and training of doctors and nurses and improvements to infrastructure to ensure all medicines and vaccines can reach those in need. Lessons learned from these five countries will then be applied to the roll-out to the other 40 countries.

Lazarus Chakwera, the president of Malawi, called it a “historic and unprecedented accord” that brings together decision-makers from governments, the private sector and civil society. “It is not a hand-out but a real partnership” that puts “human progress ahead of business profits and political posturing,” he said.

Pfizer is also working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop new products such as vaccines to prevent the deadly Group B streptococcus, and for respiratory syncytial virus, which can be serious for children and older people.


The Guardian article – Pfizer to offer all its drugs not-for-profit to 45 lower-income countries (Open access)


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WHO chief calls for Trips waiver and praises SA’s vaccine development project


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