In its mission to keep as many people healthy and safe as possible, Pfizer has announced a major goodwill effort that it calls “Accord for a Healthier World”.
The initiative will provide all of Pfizer's current and future patent-protected medicines and vaccines on a not-for-profit basis to 45 lower-income countries. By taking this step, the company says it could close the health equity gap for more than a billion people.
Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda are the first five countries that have committed to joining the Accord. Health officials in these countries will help spot and resolve any hurdles that Pfizer may face so that the company can learn and enhance the rollout in the rest of the lower-income countries.
“As we learned in the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout, supply is only the first step to helping patients. We will work closely with global health leaders to make improvements in diagnosis, education, infrastructure, storage and more. Only when all the obstacles are overcome can we end healthcare inequities and deliver for all patients,” said Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla.
The types of medicines Pfizer is providing
Pfizer says its commitment includes 23 medicines and vaccines that treat infectious diseases, certain cancers, and rare and inflammatory diseases. These diseases and conditions affect millions of lives each year in the countries the Accord will serve. As Pfizer develops and launches new medicines and vaccines, it will also make those products available on a not-for-profit basis.
One particular focus will be on Group B Streptococcus, a bacteria that commonly lives in people’s gastrointestinal and genital tracts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the bacteria is not harmful and doesn't make people feel sick most of the time, but it is a leading cause of stillbirth and newborn mortality in low-income countries. Working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Pfizer is also discussing opportunities to support Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine development.
“Everyone, no matter where they live, should have the same access to innovative, life-saving drugs and vaccines,” Bill Gates said. “The Accord for a Healthier World could help millions more people in low-income countries get the tools they need to live a healthy life. Pfizer is setting an example for other companies to follow.”