Expanding access to medicine generally includes measures that increase the availability and affordability of healthcare products. One market-based mechanism that pharmaceutical firms can adopt is voluntary differential pricing, for instance adjusted to local levels of ability to pay. Companies can also decide to offer their patented medicines on a not-for-profit basis in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), making products more affordable for the local population.
On 25 May,2022 Pfizer launched ‘An Accord for a Healthier World.’ This new initiative aims to provide all of Pfizer’s patented, high-quality medicines and vaccines available in the U.S. or the European Union on a not-for-profit basis to those living in a subset of lower-income countries. Through the Accord, Pfizer seeks to greatly reduce the health inequities that exist between people living in many lower-income countries and the rest of the world.
Countries covered by the Accord include all 27 low-income countries as well as 18 lower-middle income countries that have transitioned from low- to lower-middle income classification in the last ten years. Pfizer announced plans to work with healthcare officials in Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda to identify early insights and opportunities to ensure all medicines and vaccines can reach those in need. This would include expertise to support diagnosis, healthcare professional education and training along with supply chain management and other infrastructure enhancements. Learnings from these five countries will be applied to support the rollout for the remaining 40 countries.
Under the Accord, Pfizer has committed to providing 23 medicines and vaccines that treat infectious diseases, certain cancers, and rare and inflammatory diseases. Making these medicines and vaccines more readily available has the potential to treat non-communicable and infectious diseases that claim the lives of nearly one million people each year in these countries and chronic diseases that significantly impact the quality of life for at least half a million more. As Pfizer launches new medicines and vaccines, those products will also be included in the Accord portfolio on a not-for-profit basis.
The company’s Accord commitments match very closely the opportunities identified for Pfizer, as included in the 2021 Index. The Foundation identified in the company's report card an opportunity to expand the availability and affordability of key products in low-income countries such as palbociclib (Ibrance®) for breast cancer and the antibiotic, ceftazidime/avibactam (Zavicefta®), both included in the scope of the Accord. During meetings with senior leadership at Pfizer, the Foundation provided guidance, advice and encouragement specifically regarding Pfizer’s pricing strategies in the months and years leading up to the initiative’s launch.