Image Source: Kena Betancur/Agence France-Presse
Pfizer announced on Wednesday that they would be selling their patented medicines at affordable, not-for-profit prices to countries that need them most.
The drugmaker is offering a range of drugs to 45 select low-income countries in need in need of the medications. These include Paxlovid for COVID-19 infections as well Ibrance, which can reduce breast cancer risks.
Pfizer also included 23 other patented medicines, vaccines for infectious diseases, cancer drugs, and treatments for rare and inflammatory diseases. The company said it would ship catalogs of drugs like the pneumonia vaccine Prevnar 13, cancer treatments Xalkori and Inlyta, and rheumatoid arthritis medicine Xeljanz. Part of the 23 includes Comirnaty, a BioNTech-developed COVID-19 vaccine.
“But clearly, the antiviral (Paxlovid) is going to be a very big deal for them – if they need it, they can get it immediately,” said Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla. He also said that the company has studied what medicines to send, so they can be fully utilized by the target countries.
Pfizer calls their initiative “An Accord for a Healthier World,” in which they have included 27 low-income countries and 18 lower-income countries to receive the offers. Most countries in the list are from the African and Southeast Asian regions.
During the World Economic Forum in Davos, five countries — Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, Uganda, and Rwanda — have already committed to the accord.
The accord will let the drugmaker and the participating countries share “the burden of costs and tasks in the production and delivery of supplies that will save millions of lives,” said Lazarus Chakwera, President of Malawi.
Bourla explained, “Instead of washing our hands and saying, ‘I gave you the product, do whatever you want with them,’ we’re saying, ‘We’ll give you the products, and we will sit with you to see how we can help organize a system that can utilize them.’”
It can be recalled that during the pandemic, Pfizer was slammed by many critics about the pace at which they were rolling out its COVID-19 vaccine supplies. Many poor countries had waited for months before they were delivered the doses – much later than the doses that arrived in wealthier nations.
Bourla further said that the accord would narrow the gap and explain to the countries what happened to the rollout – citing particularly the lack of health infrastructures in many countries that were essential in the delivery and distribution of the vaccines.
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