Cambodia, Laos to benefit as Pfizer slashes drug prices for poorest nations

Pfizer Inc plans to sell its entire portfolio of brand-name drugs at cost in as many as 45 lower-income countries, including Cambodia and Laos, one of the most comprehensive and ambitious drug-access programmes ever announced by a large pharmaceutical manufacturer.

The initiative will start in five African countries with 23 drugs for cancer, rare illnesses, inflammatory conditions and infectious diseases. It will eventually include all of the New York-based company’s future therapies or vaccines. The drugs will be sold at the cost of manufacturing, Pfizer said, typically a fraction of their price in US or European markets. The company also plans to invest in local health systems to improve diagnostic capabilities, get the drugs approved and make sure doctors know how to administer them.

Throughout the pandemic, the company has sold its Covid-19 vaccine in lower-income countries for about $7 a dose, near where it puts the cost, compared with $19.50 in the US. For Covid and other illnesses, peer drugmakers have run similar low-cost programmes, particularly for diseases common in the developing world. But for most drug categories, many of the newest, most advanced therapies can take years to reach low-income markets, if they ever do.

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