Pfizer has announced it will offer its entire portfolio of 500 nonprofit drugs to dozens of low-income countries, but critics have called the move a “PR spin” by a company “obsessed with making obscene profits.”
The pharmaceutical giant announced today that it would allow access to 500 patented and generic medicines and vaccines to 45 countries, mainly in the Middle East and Africa.
This includes the company’s flagship Covid vaccine, chemotherapies, oral cancer treatments, a range of antibiotics and any future drugs and vaccines Pfizer releases.
It comes after Pfizer faced a huge public backlash over plans to quadruple the price of its covid vaccine this year, despite posting record profits during the pandemic.
Pfizer’s profits have soared during the pandemic thanks to both its Covid vaccine and antiviral drug.
Pfizer’s ‘Accord for a Healthier World’ gives access to its medicines and vaccines to 45 low-income countries around the world
A health worker administers a vaccine to a child at the Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital in Bundung, The Gambia, on August 30, 2022. The Gambia is one of 45 low-income countries set to benefit from expanded access to Pfizer’s off-patent drugs and vaccines
Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a sentence today: ‘Our hope is to empower country governments and co-create solutions with them and other multisectoral partners to break down many of the system-level barriers to better health.’
But People’s Vaccine, a coalition of more than 100 organizations working to “end vaccine apartheid,” questioned the authenticity of the gesture, which comes just weeks after Democrats accused Pfizer of corporate greed for raising the price. of your covid vaccine.
Mohga Kamal-Yanni, co-policy director at People’s Vaccine Alliance, said: ‘This is a public relations twist that combines a lot of product with little serious commitment. It is not an act of benevolence.
“Many off-patent drugs are already produced by generic companies in the Global South, which raises the question: Is Pfizer targeting generic competition?”
Kamal-Yanni argued that the company’s secrecy around the actual costs of its research, development and production means the non-profit promise “cannot be verified.”
He added: ‘The world must not forget that generic competition lowered the price of HIV drugs, allowing millions of people to access treatment. But the Pfizer “deal” doesn’t allow generic companies to make patented drugs.’
Since 2000, access to HIV drugs has grown dramatically to more than 5 million people in developing countries, thanks to the production of generic versions of widely patented drugs that allowed drug prices to fall .
La Vaccina del Pueblo said that there are still parts of the world that will not have access, such as Latin America: ‘Where a patient resides should not determine whether he lives or dies. And the decision of who has access to the drugs certainly shouldn’t be made by a company obsessed with making obscene profits. Pfizer has no right to play God.
Pfizer profits have skyrocketed due to the pandemic thanks to both its Covid vaccine and its antiviral drug Paxlovid, which have enjoyed large government contracts.
The New York-based company is estimated to have made $100 billion in revenue last year, up from $81.2 billion in 2021.
Pfizer was earning about $40 billion per year in revenue before the pandemic, for comparison.
Despite the obscene profits, Pfizer announced plans in October to raise the price of its shot to $130.
The new price will take effect once the government uses up the doses it bought to prepare for the winter and the vaccine hits the open market in the spring.
Lawmakers accused Pfizer of “improper profit” and warned it could make the vaccine unaffordable to the uninsured and increase premiums for those who do.