USA – Pfizer has announced that it will supply all of its current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines to 45 low-income countries on a non-profit basis, and it is in discussions with other major pharmaceutical companies about taking similar steps.
These countries do not have easy access to innovative treatments. According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, new treatments in low-income countries can take four to seven years longer to become available, if at all.
In an interview, Chief Executive Albert Bourla stated that all medicines made available should be useful.
When Pfizer launches new medicines and vaccines, they will be included in the drug portfolio at a non-profit price, according to the company.
Five countries have already committed to joining the agreement, which was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos. They are Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda.
According to Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera, the agreement will allow the countries and the drugmaker to share “the burden of costs and tasks in the production and delivery of supplies that will save millions of lives.“
Further, Pfizer has been chastised for the manner in which it distributed its COVID-19 vaccine, with some poorer countries having to wait months after the first doses arrived in wealthier countries.
The difficulties of that rollout, according to Bourla, informed the new agreement, particularly the lack of health infrastructure in some countries, which made distributing the vaccine difficult.