Pfizer has announced that it plans to launch an initiative called “Accord for a Healthier World”, which aims to close the health equity gap and improve global health.
The scheme will provide all of Pfizer’s current and future patent-protected medicines on a not-for-profit basis to 45 countries, potentially reaching over a billion people.
According to Pfizer, the commitment includes 23 vaccines and medicines that treat infectious diseases, certain cancers, and rare and inflammatory diseases that affect millions each year.
For example, one disease that the scheme hopes to combat is Group B Streptococcus, a bacteria that commonly live in people’s gastrointestinal and genital tracts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the bacteria is not harmful and doesn’t cause sickness in most of the people infected. But, it is still a leading cause of stillbirth and newborn mortality in low-income countries.
As new vaccines and medicines are developed by the company, these will also become available on a not-for-profit basis.
So far, some of the countries that have committed to joining the initiative are Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda. Pfizer says it will work alongside health officials in those countries to resolve any issues and improve the scheme for the other countries involved.
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.”
Pfizer is also considering working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine development.
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.”