People in Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi and 42 more countries to benefit as Pfizer says it will no longer sell its patented drugs to low-income earners

Ideally, next generation COVID-19 shots will be based on our knowledge of multiple viral variants, not just one sequence.
  • US drugs firm Pfizer said it will no longer profit from selling drugs to some low-income countries.
  • People in 45 countries, including Rwanda, Ghana, and Malawi, could benefit.
  • Pfizer faced heat during the pandemic for profiteering from its COVID-19 vaccines.

Pfizer announced Wednesday that it will no longer be making a profit from sales of its drugs to low-income countries.

"As we learned in the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout, supply is only the first step to helping patients," Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

"We will work closely with global health leaders to make improvements in diagnosis, education, infrastructure, storage and more. Only when all the obstacles are overcome can we end healthcare inequities and deliver for all patients," he added.

Pfizer faced heat during the pandemic, including from activist groups, who accused it of profiteering from its COVID-19 vaccines, especially as other firms such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson sold their vaccines at cost. Pfizer, however, has said that it offers equitable pricing, charging wealthy, upper-middle-income, low, and lower-middle-income countries different rates for the vaccine.

The initiative, titled "Accord for a Healthier World," will include 23 of the company's medicines and vaccines that are used to treat infectious diseases, some cancers, inflammatory diseases, as well as its vaccine and treatment for coronavirus.

Its revenues doubled in 2021, as it racked up $81.3 billion. Its vaccine is partly owed to contributing to its $26 billion revenue in the first quarter of this year, according to its 2022 first-quarter earnings report.

Pfizer plans to sell its drugs at cost to benefit 1.2 billion people in 45 countries. Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, and Senegal are among the countries that have so far signed onto its accord.

Pfizer did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, made outside of normal working hours.

"It is the time to close the health equity gap," said Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, in the statement. "Uganda is proud to join the Accord, and we are committed to working with Pfizer and all Accord partners to find new ways to address access challenges."

The President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, also said in the statement that the program will allow "sharing the burden of costs and tasks in the production and delivery of supplies that will save millions of lives."

Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also touted the initiative, saying in the statement that Pfizer is "setting an example for other companies to follow."

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