Don’t worry about monkey pox, it reduces the cost of low-income drugs

Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, at the WEF in Davos, Switzerland, on May 25, 2022.

Adam Galici | CNBC

The CEO of Pfizer said on Wednesday that he would “not worry much” about a recent monkey outbreak that has raised cases in non-endemic countries.

Albert Bourla told CNBC that current data on the disease suggests that it is not as easily transmitted as other viruses, such as Covid-19, and is unlikely to lead to a pandemic.

“I don’t have all the information beforehand. With everything I know, I wouldn’t have to worry much,” he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“That doesn’t mean we have to calm down,” he said. “I think we should be able to control where the situation is going.”

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is endemic to Central and West Africa. The virus spreads through close contact with infected people, animals, or materials, including rashes, fever, headache, muscle aches, swelling, and back pain.

Although most cases are mild, usually resolved within two to four weeks, health experts are disgusted with the recent rise in patients with no history of the disease and no connection to travel to endemic countries.

As of Wednesday, at least 237 cases of ape pox had been confirmed and alleged cases were reported in countries outside Africa, including the United Arab Emirates, the first Gulf state to report a case.

Bourla noted that the availability of existing treatments has reason to be optimistic. The monkey vaccine has been shown to be 85% effective, and France and Denmark are already targeting vaccine campaigns for those most at risk of transmitting the disease.

The poorest countries in the world to receive medicines at a price

In another announcement on Wednesday, Pfizer said it would make all patented medicines available at a non-profit price for the world’s poorest countries.

“In 45 countries, 1.2 billion people will get all of our patented products at cost,” Bourla said.

The pharmaceutical giant said the plan patented 23 proprietary medicines and vaccines for infectious diseases, certain cancers and other rare and infectious diseases.

The drug portfolio includes the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Comirnaty At BioNTech, Bourla said it would be used immediately.

The company’s Covid-19 treatment includes Paxlovid and Ibrance breast cancer medicine, as well as Prevnar 13 pneumonia vaccine, Xeljanz rheumatoid arthritis medicine and Xalkori and Inlyta cancer treatments.

More medications and vaccines will be added to the list as they are launched.

Through the program, Pfizer said it wants to improve the ease and speed of access to essential medicines for poor countries.

Bourla said he realizes that the company’s goal, set when he took office in 2019, is to “reduce the number of people on the planet who can’t afford medicine by 20% by 2023.”

“We’re going to get that today,” he said, and shareholders “should think we’re doing the right thing.”

Fix Covid-19 deficiencies

According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it can typically take four to seven more years for new treatments to be available in low-income countries than in advanced economies – if available.

The scheme, which includes 27 parts of Africa and much of Southeast Asia and 18 low-income countries, will be included in the scheme, called the “Agreement for a Healthier World”.

27 of Africa, which covers much of Africa and much of Southeast Asia, and 18 low-income countries will be included in the Pfizer program, called the “Agreement for a Healthy World.”

Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Don’t worry about monkey pox, it reduces the cost of low-income drugs

Source link Don’t worry about monkey pox, it reduces the cost of low-income drugs

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