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Pfizer to offer low-cost medicines, vaccines to poor nations

Tom Murphy

AP – Pfizer said yesterday that it will provide nearly two dozen products, including its top-selling COVID-19 vaccine and treatment, at not-for-profit prices in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The drugmaker announced the programme at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, and said it was aimed at improving health equity in 45 lower-income countries. Most of the countries are in Africa, but the list also includes Haiti, Syria, Cambodia and North Korea.

The products, which are widely available in the United States (US) and the European Union (EU), include 23 medicines and vaccines that treat infectious diseases, some cancers and rare and inflammatory conditions. Company spokeswoman Pam Eisele said only a small number of the medicines and vaccines are currently available in the 45 countries.

New York-based Pfizer will charge only manufacturing costs and “minimal” distribution expenses, Eisele said. It will comply with any sanctions and all other applicable laws.

Earlier this month, the head of the World Health Organization called on Pfizer to make its COVID-19 treatment more widely available in poorer countries. Pfizer has said its COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, is already being provided to poorer counties at a not-for-profit rate through the US government, which buys the shots and then distributes them for free.

Comirnaty brought in nearly USD37 billion in sales last year, and analysts expect the company’s COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid to add almost USD24 billion this year, according to the data firm FactSet.

A woman pushes a baby in a stroller past the Pfizer’s headquarters in New York. PHOTO: AP
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