Access and Affordability: How Pfizer Is Impacting People with Breakthrough Medicines and Vaccines

Creating social good and sustaining the long-term financial health of Pfizer are not only compatible goals but are core to the company’s business strategy. That was the message from a fireside chat with Pfizer executives on expanding access and affordability of medicines and vaccines.

The event was a part of the company’s ongoing outreach to investors about Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) issues, particularly Pfizer’s commitment to helping ensure access to the company’s innovative products.

The efforts to expand access have crystallized most recently in An Accord for a Healthier World, Pfizer’s initiative to give access to the company’s patent-protected medicines and vaccines to 45 low- and low-middle-income countries with a total population of 1.2 billion people. Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda are the first five countries to commit to join the Accord.

Learn more about An Accord for a Healthier World

The initiative will make 23 innovative patented products available at a not-for-profit price, said Angela Hwang, Pfizer’s Group President of Biopharmaceuticals Group. As new medicines and vaccines are launched and approved, those products will also be included in the Accord portfolio. The company will also work with the countries to help ensure an expedited regulatory process and a secure supply chain.

“It is a breakthrough initiative, a first at Pfizer, and one that we think can really be groundbreaking, not only just for our company, but also for many other companies,” Hwang said. “This initiative is really also a call to action for other companies and other partners to join us.”

Measuring Impact and Balancing Needs

Pfizer reached approximately 1.4 billion people last year with its medicines and vaccines.[1] But that isn’t the only way to measure the impact the company had on society, said Aamir Malik, Pfizer’s executive VP and Chief Business Innovation Officer.

The COVID-19 vaccines alone generated close to $438 billion in real U.S. GDP gain, according to a report by Heartland Forward[2]. More than 10 million hospitalizations have been prevented by COVID-19 vaccination among vaccinated people.[3]

Malik said the company must weigh the need to bring these innovative medicines and vaccines to market to help ensure access for patients with the necessity to invest in research and development. Those goals are compatible, he said.

“We have to balance all of those things, and it comes from a fundamental belief that we can fundamentally do all of those things in parallel and that they aren’t trade-offs,” Malik said.

The Importance of Partnerships

Through the power of partnerships, Pfizer is seeking to expand access to its medicines and vaccines for as many people as possible.

Partnerships are an important element of what Pfizer does, and they take many different forms, said Malik.

“Through the work of The Pfizer Foundation, which is a separate legal entity from Pfizer, there’s a lot that we have driven to improve the health care systems and how we work with organizations like CARE and PATH and Save the Children to build infrastructure in countries to improve access and address infectious disease. That’s one form of partnership,” said Malik.

Since 1998, together with the International Trachoma Initiative, Pfizer has donated close to 1 billion antibiotic doses, helping to protect hundreds of millions of people suffering from trachoma. Pfizer has also partnered with Zipline to deliver approximately 850,000 COVID-19 vaccines through a medical drone delivery system in Ghana as of March of this year.

The Accord is another exceptional example of partnership, this time with governments, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and other stakeholders.

“We believe that some of the most complex problems in the world can only be solved through the partnership of many,” Hwang said.

[1] Patients counts are estimates derived from multiple data sources.
[2] Heartland Forward, December 2021
[3] Commonwealth Fund, December 2021

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