Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced today the launch of ‘An Accord for a Healthier World,’ a new initiative aimed at providing all of the company’s medicines and vaccines available in the U.S. and EU on a not-for-profit basis to people in low-income countries.
The initiative will initially roll out in Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda, with Pfizer ultimately aiming to reach 1.2 billion people in 45 lower-income countries.
Pfizer stated that the initiative “seeks to greatly reduce the health inequities that exist between many lower-income countries and the rest of the world.”
Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said:
“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.”
Under the new initiative, healthcare officials from the first five countries will work with the company to identify and resolve hurdles to medicine and vaccine access, in areas including diagnosis, healthcare professional education and supply chain management, as well as collaborating on regulatory and procurement pathways to reduce the time to make medicines and vaccines available. The work with the five initial countries will inform the broader rollout of the accord.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame said:
“Rapid and affordable access to the most advanced medicines and vaccines is the cornerstone of global health equity. Pfizer’s commitment under the Accord program sets a new standard in this regard. Combined with additional investments in strengthening Africa’s public health systems and pharmaceutical regulators, the Accord is an important step toward sustainable health security for countries at every income level.”
Pfizer also said that the accord aims to enable faster access to the company’s future pipeline medicines and vaccines on a not-for-profit-basis, with a particular focus on treating diseases that disproportionately affect global health. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Pfizer stated that it is working on the development of vaccine candidates for the prevention of Group B Streptococcus (GBS), a leading cause of stillbirth and newborn mortality in low-income countries.
Bill Gates said:
“Everyone, no matter where they live, should have the same access to innovative, life-saving drugs and vaccines. 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.”