Pfizer will distribute 500 drugs to poor countries on a charitable basis

Pfizer will distribute 500 drugs to poor countries on a charitable basis

What’s the catch? Pfizer announces it will offer its entire portfolio of 500 drugs on a not-for-profit basis in 45 low-income countries – after generating record profits during the pandemic

  • Pfizer will now provide access to off-patent drugs in addition to the patented drugs
  • Lower-income countries like Rwanda and Malawi will benefit
  • But The People’s Vaccine said it was a “PR spin” and “not an act of goodwill”.

Pfizer has announced it will offer its entire portfolio of 500 drugs to dozens of low-income countries on a not-for-profit basis — but critics have called the move a “PR spin” from a company “obsessed with making obscene profits.”

The pharmaceutical giant announced today that it will grant access to 500 patented and generic medicines and vaccines in 45 countries, mainly in the Middle East and Africa.

These include the company’s flagship Covid vaccine, chemotherapies, oral cancer treatments, a range of antibiotics, and any future drugs and syringes that Pfizer brings to market.

It comes after Pfizer faced a major public backlash over plans to quadruple the price of its Covid shot this year, despite record profits during the pandemic.

Pfizer’s profits have soared through the pandemic thanks to the Covid vaccine and antiviral drug

Pfizer's Accord for a Healthier World provides access to its medicines and vaccines to 45 low-income countries around the world

Pfizer’s Accord for a Healthier World provides access to its medicines and vaccines to 45 low-income countries around the world

A health worker administers a vaccine to a child at the Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital in Bundung, The Gambia, August 30, 2022.  The Gambia is one of 45 low-income countries that will benefit from expanded access to Pfizer's off-patent medicines and vaccines

A health worker administers a vaccine to a child at the Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital in Bundung, The Gambia, August 30, 2022. The Gambia is one of 45 low-income countries that will benefit from expanded access to Pfizer’s off-patent medicines and vaccines

Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement today, “Our hope is to empower governments and work with them and other cross-industry partners to develop solutions to address many of the system-level barriers to better health.” to dismantle.”

But the People’s Vaccine, a coalition of over 100 organizations working to “end vaccine apartheid,” questioned the authenticity of the gesture, which won the prize just weeks after Democrats accused Pfizer of corporate greed for pumping up his Covid shot.

Mohga Kamal-Yanni, political co-leader of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said: “This is a PR spin combining a large number of products with little serious engagement. It’s not an act of goodwill.

“Many off-patent drugs are already being made by generic companies in the Global South, raising the question: is Pfizer targeting generic competition?”

Ms Kamal-Yanni argued that the company’s secrecy about the true costs of its research, development and production means the charitable promise “cannot be verified”.

She added: “The world should not forget that generic drug competition has driven down HIV drug prices and given millions of people access to treatment. But Pfizer’s ‘deal’ doesn’t allow generic companies to make patented drugs.’

Since 2000, access to HIV medicines has increased dramatically, reaching more than five million people in developing countries, thanks to the production of generic versions of widely patented drugs that have made it possible to lower drug prices.

The People’s Vaccine said there are still parts of the world that will not have access, such as Latin America: “Where a sick person lives should not determine whether they live or die. And the decision about who has access to drugs certainly shouldn’t be made by a company obsessed with making obscene profits. Pfizer has no right to play God.’

Pfizer’s profits have soared through the pandemic thanks to both the Covid vaccine and antiviral drug Paxlovid winning huge government contracts.

The New York-based company is estimated to have had sales of $100 billion last year, up from $81.2 billion in 2021.

For comparison, Pfizer had annual sales of about $40 billion before the pandemic.

Despite the obscene profits, in October Pfizer announced plans to raise the price of its shot to $130.

The new price comes into effect once the government has used up doses bought in preparation for winter and the vaccine goes on the open market in the spring.

Lawmakers accused Pfizer of “undue profiting” and warned that the vaccine could become unaffordable for the uninsured and soaring premiums for those that are.