Pfizer expands humanitarian access to Prevnar 13 vaccine

Pfizer is expanding access and cutting the price of its Prevnar 13 pneumonia vaccine to refugees.

The pharma company is offering the newly developed multi-dose vaccine to aid groups working with the refugee crisis and dropping the price to $3.10 per dose. The price drop and multi-dose vaccine availability begins in early 2017.

"To date, we have provided donations [to refugees] to meet acute needs," Pfizer spokesperson Sally Beatty told PRWeek. "In other cases, humanitarian organizations would buy locally at varying costs. We wanted to standardize a vaccine price for refugees."

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Pfizer is also donating all sales proceeds from the first year to humanitarian groups working with refugees. The company is working with the World Health Organization to identify groups to work with and donate to, Beatty said.

"The timing is right," said Beatty. "Given the scope of the refugee crisis, we believe they have reached a scale that demands all members of society work together to identify new solutions for providing access to healthcare. The timing is also right because the multi-dose vial, which has been in development for some time, will become available in early 2017."

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The Prevnar 13 vaccine is used in infants and young children to help protect against pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia and meningitis. According to the WHO, pneumonia is the world's leading killer of children under five. 

This year, as part of its humanitarian assistance program, Pfizer has donated antibiotics to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew hit and began a cholera outbreak in the country and provided contraceptives to Puerto Rico to help women delay pregnancy and prevent birth defects from Zika. Pfizer also joined the Gavi Alliance in 2015, which provides affordable vaccines to poor countries.

This story was first published by PRWeek.