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Pfizer expands access to cancer drugs in 45 African countries

US drug firm, Pfizer, has announced a partnership with IDA Foundation, an independent social enterprise providing essential medicines to low-and middle-income countries, to provide equitable access to quality cancer treatments, the firm said on Wednesday.

US drug firm, Pfizer, has announced a partnership with IDA Foundation, an independent social enterprise providing essential medicines to low-and middle-income countries, to provide equitable access to quality cancer treatments, the firm said on Wednesday.

The agreement covers the delivery of the cancer treatments in almost 70 developing countries across Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Western Pacific region. At least 45 African countries are covered by the supply agreement.

“The supply agreement means that millions more patients will now have the potential to access innovative chemotherapy medicines for multiple types of cancer,” the drug maker said in a statement.

Developing countries currently bear over 60% of the global cancer burden and account for 70% of cancer deaths, according to the firm.

“By providing sustainable access to Pfizer’s oncology portfolio, the agreement enables governments and non-governmental organizations (NGO) in developing countries to work toward improving the quality and quantity of available treatments and increase budgets for cancer care and treatment,” Pfizer stated.

Michelle Akande, Vice President, Global Health Partnerships at Pfizer, announced the landmark partnership, saying it brought the company a step closer to its objective of ensuring cancer patients everywhere have sustainable access to the quality treatments they need.

“We are continuously expanding our efforts to meet the needs of patients in parts of the world where access remains a challenge. Partnerships remain central to how we work, and we continue to identify new partners from all sectors who share our vision and commitment to improve health system and patient level outcomes, and provide long-term access to innovative, life-saving medicines to everyone, everywhere.”

The partnership with IDA Foundation builds on Pfizer’s long-standing collaboration with the American Cancer Society and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which has provided access to Pfizer’s portfolio of quality oncology treatments in 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Countries that access products through the agreements save an average of 56 per cent on the cost of the medicines.

“With approximately 70 per cent of deaths from cancer occurring in low- and middle-income countries, it is an urgent health burden which needs to be addressed. We believe this collaboration with Pfizer can help to bridge a gap and make quality essential medicines affordable and accessible in countries where they are needed most,” said Wendy Eggen, CEO of IDA Foundation.

The new partnership gives access to Pfizer’s portfolio of sterile injectable treatments to an additional 62 countries not previously served by existing market access agreements. This includes 11 low- and middle-income markets in the Western Pacific area, which has the highest cancer mortality rate in the world.

The supply agreement covers 18 essential cancer treatments and 30 formulations, including options for the treatment of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, which are among the most frequent types of cancer in developing countries and are often highly treatable.

IDA Foundation is an independent social enterprise providing essential medicine and medical goods to healthcare organizations worldwide. The partnership is effective immediately and supply of medicines under the agreement is expected to commence in February 2021.

In Africa, the supply agreement covers Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.