Pfizer to provide Prevnar 13 to poor countries at low cost

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Pneumococcal disease kills almost 2 million people each year. Most of those deaths are individuals from poor countries and half are younger than five years of age. Prevnar 13 which protects against 13 strains of pneumonia costs about $130, an amount that is not affordable in the countries that may need it most. However, that seems to be changing now due to a collaboration between Pfizer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

Money donated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI was used to start a pilot program in which vaccine makers agree to sell their product for a more affordable $3.50 to poor countries. The program is also working to increase production of vaccines as well as encourage vaccine producers to work to develop vaccines for diseases common in poor countries. Furthermore, the money is being used to ensure that the current Prevnar vaccine is appropriate for the disease strains found in poor countries.

The agreements with Pfizer began in 2010, with a second agreement in 2011. Those two agreements will cover 480 million doses of Prevnar through 2023 and could potentially save 1.5 million lives by 2020. In the newest agreement, Pfizer has pledged to provide an additional 260 million shots.

Dr. Bloom adds, People who rank the pharmaceutical industry right up there with Al Qaeda ought to take note here. Pfizer developed an extremely effective pneumonia vaccine and they are now selling it at a very low price to poor countries. Perhaps they are not as awful as most people seem to think.