Pfizer shifts full portfolio to non-profit model in 45 lower-income countries
Pfizer is doubling down on its efforts to address health inequities, shifting its full portfolio to a not-for-profit model in 45 lower-income countries.
The move builds on Pfizer’s “An Accord for a Healthier World” initiative launched back in May to increase access to the pharma giant’s drugs and vaccines. While the initial pledge only included 23 patented products available in the US and EU, the latest commitment covers all on- and off-patent brands, bringing the total offering to about 500 products.
Any new launches will also be included in the accord, Pfizer said in a news release.
“Our hope is to empower country governments and co-create solutions with them and other multi-sector partners to break down many of the system-level barriers to better health,” CEO Albert Bourla said in the release. “In the months since the Accord’s launch, we have heard resoundingly from these leaders that access to a broader and more immediate scope of consistent, high-quality products is needed for meaningful and sustainable transformation.”
Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda were the first five countries to sign on to Pfizer’s accord last year. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also chipped in, funding Pfizer’s work on vaccines for the prevention of Group B streptococcus, a leading cause of stillbirth and newborn mortality in low-income countries. In September, the group announced additional grants for both GBS and RSV, another leading cause of death for newborns and young infants.
Last month, the FDA granted Pfizer priority review for its RSV vaccine candidate RSVpreF, with an expected decision date in May.
In Rwanda specifically, Pfizer delivered nine of its medicines and vaccines in 2022 to treat a range of cancers, infectious and inflammatory diseases, a spokesperson said in an email to Endpoints News. The company also deployed a global health team to the country in November to “provide technical assistance on supply chain optimization and to identify opportunities to strengthen the system in areas such as shipping and supply visibility dashboards.”
“The expanded portfolio offering, combined with public health system strengthening efforts, will further enhance our progress and offer valuable support to key national health initiatives that lead to positive health outcomes,” Rwandan President Paul Kagame said in the news release.
Pfizer isn’t the only pharma giant making health equity commitments. Around the same time that Pfizer launched its accord last year, the Union for International Cancer Control announced that it had gathered a group of Big Pharmas for a new coalition dubbed ATOM, or Access to Oncology Medicines. AstraZeneca, BeiGene, Novartis, Bristol Myers Squibb, Roche, Gilead, Sanofi and others joined the group. Sanofi similarly made a pledge back in 2021 to make 30 of its “essential” drugs, spanning a range of conditions from cardiovascular disease to cancer, available in lower-income countries, and last summer released more of the details.
“As we learned in the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout, medicine supply is only the first step to helping patients,” the Pfizer spokesperson said. “The Accord aims to bring governments and experts together – united towards a common goal – to address the broader public health systems barriers that are limiting or preventing access to innovative medicines and vaccines, including effective diagnosis, education, health infrastructure, supply chain integrity and more.”
The news comes as the FDA and CDC investigate a “preliminary signal” of whether there may be an increased risk of stroke in some people who received Pfizer and BioNTech’s updated Covid-19 booster shot. The CDC noted that the findings are highly preliminary, and that “no other safety systems have shown a similar signal and multiple subsequent analyses have not validated this signal.”
Pfizer’s stock $PFE was down more than 3% on Tuesday morning, trading at around $46.29 per share.
This article has been updated to include comment from Pfizer.