Pfizer to make its patented medicines available to low-income countries

Pfizer to make its patented medicines available to low-income countries

Pfizer Inc will be able to make all of its patented medicines including COVID 19 treatment Paxlovid and big-selling breast cancer drug Ibrance available at a not-for profit price to 45 of the world's poorest countries, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.

These countries don't have access to innovative treatments. It can take four to seven years for new treatments to become available in low-income countries if they become available at all, according to the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation.

Pfizer said it plans includes 23 wholly-owned, patented medicines and vaccines that treat infectious diseases, certain cancers, and rare and inflammatory diseases. In addition to Paxlovid and Ibrance, the list includes pneumonia vaccine Prevnar 13, rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz and cancer treatments Xalkori and Inlyta.

The COVID 19 vaccine Comirnaty developed with BioNTech SE was also on the list. Chief Executive Albert Bourla said in an interview that all medicines being made available should be of use.

He said that the antiviral paxlovid is going to be a big deal for them - if they need it, they can get it immediately, he said. It said that when Pfizer launches new medicines and vaccines, they will also be included in the drug portfolio at a not-for profit price.

Pfizer says that the 27 low-income countries and 18 lower-income countries are included in an Accord for a Healthier World, which covers most of Africa and much of Southeast Asia. Five countries - Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda - have already committed to joining the accord, which was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera said in a statement that the accord 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. Pfizer was criticized for how it rolled out its COVID 19 vaccine, with some poorer countries waiting for months after the earliest doses arrived in wealthier countries.

Bourla said that the new accord was informed by the difficulties of the roll out, especially the lack of health infrastructure in some countries that made distributing the vaccine difficult.

Instead of washing our hands and saying, I gave you the product, do whatever you want to do, we're saying, 'We'll give you the products and we'll sit with you to see how we can help organize a system that can use them,'' said Bourla.