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‘An Accord for a Healthier World’: Helping Close the Health Equity Gap

The Facts

People living in low-and middle-income countries experience 70% of the world’s disease burden but receive only 15% of global health spending.1 In May 2022 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, ‘An Accord for a Healthier World’ was launched with the aim to increase access to healthcare innovation and close the health equity gap for 1.2 billion people living in 45 lower-income countries.

Under the Accord, Pfizer made the initial commitment to enable access to 23 of its patented medicines and vaccines on a not-for-profit basis to all 45 countries. Since that time, based on collaboration with governments and analysis of the unmet needs of patients in these countries, the offering has expanded to include the full portfolio of medicines and vaccines for which Pfizer holds global rights. This includes around 500 patented and off-patent medicines and vaccines that can provide breakthrough prevention and treatment options for millions of people impacted by deadly infectious diseases, as well as certain cancers and rare and inflammatory diseases.

Beyond just the access to these medicines and vaccines, the Accord will work with governments and multi-sector organizations to co-create scalable solutions that address systemic barriers to better health. These solutions include creating faster regulatory pathways, as well as strengthening the resources, capabilities, and platforms that enable quick and more sustainable access to medicines. In order to scale, the Accord will help the public and private sectors improve technical expertise, training, diagnostic capacity, access to capital, and more.

The Analysis

Where you live shouldn’t impact the quality of your healthcare, and your income shouldn’t determine your health outcomes, yet systemic inequities persist. Solving these inequities must extend beyond supplying medicines and vaccines. Experience during COVID-19 and initial collaboration with governments in Accord-eligible countries in the months since launch have uncovered a number of system-level barriers, including technical expertise, training, diagnostic capacity, financing and others, are preventing medicines and vaccines supplied from reaching patients in need. By bringing together leaders and resources across the private and public sectors, the Accord is working to identify these barriers and co-creating solutions that can address them.

The View From Malawi

His Excellency Lazarus Chakwera, President of Malawi, believes the Accord provides aid without violating the dignity of the people in need. “It is a true partnership that involves both Pfizer and countries like Malawi sharing the burden of costs and tasks in the production and delivery of supplies that will save millions of lives,” Chakwera said.

Notable

As of September, nine Pfizer medicines and vaccines have already arrived in Rwanda through the Accord for the treatment of certain cancers, infectious and inflammatory diseases. Pfizer and the Rwandan Ministry of Health are also providing professional healthcare education and training, and collaboration is underway with the Ministries of Health in Malawi, Ghana, and Senegal to better understand the critical needs and opportunities for health system strengthening to determine where and how the Accord can offer the greatest impact.

Quoteworthy

“We launched the Accord to help reduce the glaring health equity gap that exists in our world. Our hope is to empower country governments and co-create solutions with them and other multi-sector partners to break down many of the system-level barriers to better health,” said Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla.

Know More

Essential medicines and vaccines can take four-to-seven years longer to reach low- and middle-income countries, if they become available at all. Supply chain gaps and limited medical resources further delay access.2

Now What?

The Accord is calling upon governments and global leaders to unite toward a common goal–addressing the barriers in the health system that limit or prevent access to innovative medicines and vaccines, from diagnosis to education, infrastructure, and supply chain infrastructure. 

To learn more, visit www.pfizer.com/Accord.

Sources

1Okereke M, Ukor NA, Adebisi YA, et al. Impact of covid-19 on access to healthcare in low- and middle-income countries: Current evidence and future recommendations. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management. 2020;36(1):13-17. doi:10.1002/hpm.3067; Gottret P, Schieber GJ. Health Financing Revisited: A Practitioner's I.e. Practitioner’s Guide. Washington, D.C.: World Bank; 2006. 3. World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/nha/database. Accessed May 12, 2022.

2Ahonkhai V, Martins SF, Portet A, Lumpkin M, Hartman D. Speeding access to vaccines and medicines in low- and middle-income countries: A case for change and a framework for Optimized Product Market Authorization. PLOS ONE. 2016;11(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0166515

Semafor's editorial staff had no role in this post’s creation.