Developing countries: From antibiotics to cancer drugs: Pfizer "gives away" medicine to the 45 poorest countries in the world

Medical research has made enormous progress over the past few decades.

Developing countries: From antibiotics to cancer drugs: Pfizer "gives away" medicine to the 45 poorest countries in the world

Medical research has made enormous progress over the past few decades. However, the successes only fully benefit people in rich countries, people in developing countries often simply cannot afford expensive medicine. The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer no longer wants to make any money from it.

As early as May 2022, Pfizer announced that it wanted to supply developing countries with affordable medicine with its "An Accord for a Healthier World" program. At that time, however, only the drugs patented by Pfizer itself, such as the corona drug Paxlovid and one of the most important breast cancer drugs, fell under the agreement, with which the poorest developing countries were to receive the drugs at cost price.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Pfizer has now significantly expanded its range: in addition to its own patented medicines, unlicensed medicines are now also to be sold without profit. These include many antibiotics, with which Pfizer wants to save around 1.5 million people a year from dying from bacterial infections in hospitals and community facilities. Newly developed drugs should also be included in the program from the start.

The program aims to benefit the world's 45 poorest countries, including Afghanistan, Haiti, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Uganda, Senegal, Eritrea and Cambodia. The program thus has the potential to provide up to 1.2 billion people with medicine.

The program is criticized for the fact that pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer are often unable to reliably say how high the costs for research or marketing are for each drug and are therefore unable to work exactly at cost price. In addition, many costs are outsourced to public society through research at universities.

Sources: Reuters, Forbes

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