Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said it will provide all of its patented medicines on a non-profit basis to some of the world’s poorest countries.
Forty-five low and lower-middle income countries around the world will have access to the firm’s vaccines and medicines on a not-for-profit basis.
In a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Pfizer boss Albert Bourla said up to 1.2 billion people may benefit.
He also said the company will initially work with five countries – Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda – to make improvements in health education, infrastructure and diagnosis.
“We are living in a time where science is increasingly demonstrating the ability to take on the world’s most devastating diseases,” Mr Bourla said.
“Unfortunately, there exists a tremendous health equity gap in our world that determines which of us can use these innovations and which of us cannot.
“With all we have learned and accomplished over the past two years, the time is now to begin closing this gap even more. In this spirit, Pfizer is excited and proud to launch an Accord for a Healthier World.
“Through this groundbreaking initiative, Pfizer will provide all its patented medicines and vaccines, that are available in the US or in the European Union, on a non-for-profit basis to 1.2 billion people living in 45 lower income countries.
“This commitment will include all future Pfizer medicines or vaccines as they are discovered and launched as well.
“As we learned in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, ensuring supply is only the first step to helping patients. For this reason and in order to make the accord successful, we look to collaborate with global health leaders to make improvements in other aspects that affect the use of the products like diagnostics, infrastructure, support, logistics, and many more.”
He said the company will continue to work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the development of new vaccines and treatments for diseases that disproportionately impact people in low income countries, such as group B streptococcus and respiratory syncytial virus.
Bill Gates told the meeting: “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.”