Pfizer will sell drugs at cost price in poor countries

by Michael Erman

May 25 (Reuters) – Pfizer will sell all of its patented medicines, including Paxlovid for COVID-19 and its blockbuster breast cancer treatment Ibrance, at cost in 45 of the world’s poorest countries, it said. Wednesday the American laboratory.

Access to innovative treatments is a problem in low-income countries, which can sometimes have to wait four to seven years longer than the rest of the world to obtain these drugs, according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Pfizer said its project involves 23 fully-owned patented treatments and vaccines against infectious diseases, certain cancers and rare and inflammatory pathologies.

In addition to Paxlovid and Ibrance, the list includes the pneumococcal infection vaccine Prevenar 13, the inflammatory rheumatism treatment Xeljanz and the cancer treatments Xalkori and Inlyta.

The COVID-19 vaccine developed with BioNTech, Comirnaty, is also on this list.

Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, said in an interview that all of these drugs would have their uses.

“But clearly the antiviral (Paxlovid) is going to be very important to them. If they need it, they can get it immediately,” he said.

This project, announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, concerns most African countries and a large part of Southeast Asia. Five countries – Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda – have already committed to join this “Accord for a healthier world”.

Pfizer has come under fire for the way it distributes its COVID vaccine, with some poor countries having to wait months for the first doses to arrive in wealthy countries.

Albert Bourla said the agreement announced on Wednesday took these difficulties into account, in particular the lack of health infrastructure hampering access to the vaccine in some countries.

“Instead of washing our hands and saying ‘I’ll give you the product, do what you want with it’, we’re saying ‘we’ll give you the product and we’ll sit with you and see how we can help you organize a system to use them,” he said. (Report Michael Erman, French version Bertrand Boucey, edited by Jean-Michel Bélot)

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