Pfizer Inc.

Stock Exchange: New York Stock Exchange Ticker: PFE HQ: New York City, New York, United States Employees: 90,200



Rank 14 in 2016




Rises 3 places to 11th.  Pfizer improves its performance since 2016, with a refreshed access-to-medicine strategy and a strong approach to health systems strengthening. 

Performance by technical area
Performance by strategic pillar


Rises 4 places to 9th place due to a newly reviewed access-to-medicine strategy focused on commercially viable business models, with responsibility at the board level.


Rises 11 places to 8th publicly disclosing financial support and membership of institutions which may impact access to medicine. 


Rises 1 place to 13th, with a general approach to planning for access applied to comparatively few of its late-stage R&D projects.


Rises 2 places to 13th, improving slightly compared to peers in registration, but has a below average approach to equitable pricing.


Falls 1 place to 15th. Newly discloses its patent statuses via Pat-INFORMED, but does not commit not to file or to enforce patents even in Least Developed Countries.


Rises 4 places to 5th, with 7 initiatives meeting all good practice standards. Health systems strengthening is its strongest area.


Falls one place to 6th. Extends commitment to eliminating trachoma until 2025.


Expand access on family planning. Pfizer's Integrated Immunization and Family Planning Portfolio project has been active since 2016 in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Benin, and Malawi. The project integrates family planning services into routine immunization visits and it meets all good practice standards looked for by the Index. An assessment is expected to be published at the end of 2018. Based on these results, Pfizer can consider extending its commitment (currently set until the end of 2019) and expand to more countries with family planning needs.

Improve access plans for R&D projects during development. Pfizer can improve its process to develop access plans by expanding this process to all projects for diseases in scope. Currently, Pfizer plans for access in an ad hoc manner. It can also establish a firmer timeline for establishing these access plans by Phase II of clinical development. Pfizer can establish access plans for more late-stage projects, including both in-house and collaborative R&D projects. For example, Pfizer can establish access plans for its late-stage candidates that target bacterial infections, including the beta-lactamase inhibitor-containing aztreonam-avibactam to address antimicrobial resistance.

Join peers in patent filing and enforcement commitment. Pfizer is one of five companies that does not yet make a public commitment to not file for and/or not enforce patents in the poorest countries. Pfizer can look to adopt a general public stance to not file for and/or not enforce patents related to diseases in scope in Least Developed Countries, low-income countries, and in a subset of middle income countries.

Expand registration of key antibiotic. Ceftazidime/avibactam (Zavicefta™) for lower respiratory infections has been filed to register in one out of 10 possible priority countries. This product can provide an important last line of defence where resistance to third-generation cephalosporins and other antibiotics has been observed. Alongside appropriate product stewardship, Pfizer could register the product in more priority countries, including, for e.g., Afghanistan, Congo, Dem. Rep., Ethiopia, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Uganda.

Change since 2016

  • Announced an extension of its initiative in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) to further broaden access to Pfizer’s all-in-one injectable contraceptive, Sayana®Press (medroxyprogesterone acetate).
  • Joined Access Accelerated with multiple initiatives. It has also committed to measure impact and share results publicly via the Access Observatory.
  • Became a funding partner for the drone delivery company, Zipline, in order to expand the programme for delivery of essential medicines.
  • Discloses publicly the patent statuses for small molecules in scope via the Pat-INFORMED platform.
  • Newly established a Global Health Committee, strengthening governance of its access to medicine strategy.
  • Extended commitment to the elimination of trachoma until 2025 through the donation of azithromycin (Zithromax®) in partnership with the International Trachoma Initiative.

Pipeline​ and Portfolio

for diseases and countries in scope


Mid-sized pipeline: 46 R&D projects for diseases in scope (40 medicines; 6 preventive vaccines).
Clinical candidates: 28, including a therapy for human African trypanosomiasis and a preventive vaccine for Staphylococcus aureus.
Regulatory approvals: 6, including ceftazidime/avibactam (Zavicefta™) for the treatment of lower respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases.
R&D focus: non-communicable diseases (cancer and diabetes mellitus), communicable diseases (lower respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases) and neglected tropical diseases (Chagas disease and onchocerciasis).
Access provisions: for 12 projects, most commonly applied through access-oriented partnerships.


Comparatively large portfolio: 109 products for diseases in scope (101 medicines; 4 contraceptive methods; 4 preventive vaccines).
Portfolio focus: non-communicable diseases (cancer, hypertensive heart disease and ischaemic heart disease) and communicable diseases (lower respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases).
Essential medicines: 71% of Pfizer's medicines and vaccines are currently listed on the 2017 WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (WHO EML).
First-line treatments: 59% of Pfizer's medicines and vaccines have first-line indications for diseases in scope.

Projects in the pipeline: 46*
Products on the market: 109
Projects for R&D priority targets with access provisions: 12
Essential medicines with first-line indications: 54

Business context

Two business units: Pfizer Essential Health (PEH); and Pfizer Innovative Health (PIH). PEH has five business units (anti-infectives; biosimilars; emerging markets; global brands; and sterile injectables). PIH has six therapeutic areas (consumer healthcare; inflammation and immunology; internal medicine; oncology; rare diseases; and vaccines). Its vaccines portfolio focuses on meningococcal disease, pneumococcal disease and tick-borne encephalitis. Pfizer holds a 11.7% equity share in ViiV Healthcare - a joint HIV/AIDS medicine venture with GSK and Shionogi. 

M&A news: 2016 acquisition of AstraZeneca’s small-molecule anti-infectives business and late-stage pipeline.

Presence in emerging markets: In 2018, Pfizer reports sales in 58 countries in scope; 28 less than in the 2016 Index. It reports that around 20% of its sales in 2017 came from emerging markets.

Sales in countries in scope
Revenue by geographic region

*Figure excludes 1 project that do not fall into the listed phases of development: e.g., technical lifecycle projects, diagnostics, platform technologies, vector control products, investigator sponsored trials and Phase IV projects. 
**Neglected Tropical Diseases, while also communicable, are highlighted separately throughout the Index. See Appendix II. 
***See Appendix IV for definition. 

Learn more

View our detailed overview of each company’s performance in the Index, including breakdowns of their product portfolios and R&D pipelines.