Pfizer will soon allow cheap drugs to be sold in poor countries under a new program that will loosen restrictions on its vaccine-preparation pill.
Ongoing debates about how drugs should be sold in poor countries have impacted how medicine is procured, distributed and tested in countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and elsewhere.
Some countries have tried out new methods, such as expanding pharmacy networks with local health providers to serve the population. This “de-marketing” method offers inexpensive alternatives for certain drugs.
But others have focused on through-the-counter sales that exclude local providers, officials and consumer advocates, while still keeping drug pricing an issue.
In India, a country where the government argues over the best ways to distribute vaccines, or how they should be funded, easy access to medications, like Pfizer’s prenatal pills, is a contentious issue.