Pfizer to provide medicines to 1.2bn people in 45 countries on not-for-profit basis

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Updated 11 July 2022

Pfizer to provide medicines to 1.2bn people in 45 countries on not-for-profit basis

Pfizer to provide medicines to 1.2bn people in 45 countries on not-for-profit basis
  • Pfizer will work with healthcare officials in Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda to ensure that the medicines and vaccines reach those in need

RIYADH: Leading pharmaceutical company Pfizer has launched ‘An Accord for a Healthier World,’ a ground-breaking initiative aimed to provide patented, high-quality medicines and vaccines on a not-for-profit basis to 1.2 billion people in 45 lower-income countries to reduce health inequalities, a senior executive of the company said.

Patrick van der Loo, Pfizer’s regional president for Africa and the Middle East, told Arab News that the company plans to reduce by 2023 the number of people in low-income countries without access to its medicines by 50 percent. 




Patrick van der Loo, Pfizer’s regional president for Africa and the Middle East.

“We wanted to make sure that these products are now available to these 45 low-income and low-middle-income countries, which means 1.2 billion people will additionally get access to these innovative Pfizer medicines,” said van der Loo.

The countries in the accord include 27 low-income countries and 18 lower-middle-income countries that have transitioned from low to lower-middle-income classification in the last 10 years.

Pfizer will work with healthcare officials in Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda to ensure that the medicines and vaccines reach those in need. 

The initiative will include expertise to support diagnosis, education and training for healthcare professionals and improve supply chain management. 

The company will apply the lessons learned from these five countries to support the program’s rollout in the remaining 40 countries, it said in a statement.

Van der Loo added that the program also covers at least two countries in the Middle East that met the World Bank criteria.

“We selected the countries based on the World Bank classification of a nation. So, we looked at the classification for low income. And that’s why we included countries like Syria and Yemen,” he said.

Economics of the program

The top executive of Pfizer clarified that his company had no intention to make any profit from this program, assuring that it was based on humanitarian considerations.

“We are only charging manufacturing and minimal distribution costs. So that means all other costs, whether the regulatory work, the diagnosis work, or all the other elements mentioned before, will be borne by us. So we have a budget to get this started,” explained van der Loo.

He was optimistic that the initiative would not just end with Pfizer and hoped that other companies that have expertise in diagnosis or other areas would also join. He added that Pfizer is looking for a partnership with governments to ensure that this program succeeds.

“Together, we can move this forward. We know we are a big company, but we’re only one company. So that’s why we need these partnerships with governments. We need this partnership with the Gates Foundation. We need these partnerships with development funding institutions to get the core properly off the ground,” he added.

Pfizer seeks to include all or most countries that fit into this category on board.

“We expect that we will have the majority of the countries on board by the second half of this year,” van der Loo pointed out.

Lessons from COVID-19 experience

Van der Loo also highlighted that Pfizer has assessed the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine and continued to work on improving other types of medication.

“Let me start by saying it’s very effective,” he said. “We have made lifecycle improvements already on our COVID-19 vaccine. So earlier, the product could be stored only at a very deep freeze temperature and for a very short time. But now we are talking weeks. We have also developed a special vaccine for six months to five years and ready-to-use type formulations.”

He added that his company is also working on other types of vaccines and medications.

“We’re working on other types of formulations like if there is a need to develop specific variant vaccines. We can do that from start to finish in about 100 days.”

Van der Loo also pointed out that Pfizer has rolled out more than three billion vaccines.

“We’ve rolled out more than three billion COVID-19 vaccines in 180 countries. So, I think all these experiences in these countries have proven invaluable in determining how we can best roll out this accord. And that’s why we were also able to switch so quickly with countries like Rwanda, Malawi, Senegal or Uganda.”

Partnering with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Pfizer has a massive manufacturing network, which includes over 60 sites across the globe. 

The company has a significant collaboration with a biotech institute in South Africa that manufactures the COVID-19 vaccine for countries in the Africa Union.  

It also has a presence in the Middle East and North Africa, including a factory in Saudi Arabia.

“We are also interested in collaborating with governments like we are doing here in the region by improving the skill level so that countries can take more of the steps themselves.”

Van der Loo revealed that Pfizer is looking at a broader collaboration with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

 “So, there’s much more to localization than just brick-and-mortar and building a factory. And I think it’s that broader collaboration that Pfizer is looking at in partnering with the countries as we do in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.”


OPEC+ may consider output cut of more than 1 million bpd

OPEC+ may consider output cut of more than 1 million bpd
Updated 02 October 2022

OPEC+ may consider output cut of more than 1 million bpd

OPEC+ may consider output cut of more than 1 million bpd
  • The figure is slightly above estimates for a cut given last week

RIYADH:  The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia, also known as OPEC+, will consider an oil output cut of more than a million barrels per day when it meets on Oct. 5, OPEC sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The figure is slightly above estimates for a cut given last week, which ranged between 500,000 bpd and 1 million bpd.

OPEC+ is meeting in person in Vienna for the first time since March 2020. “It is a meeting that is taking place at a very interesting global time,” one of the sources said.

The output cuts are being considered on the back of a slide in oil prices from multiyear highs reached in March and market volatility. Saudi Arabia first flagged the possibility of cuts to correct the market in August.

Earlier this week, a source familiar with Russian thinking said Moscow could suggest a cut of up to 1 million bpd, while an OPEC source put the likely figure closer to 500,000 bpd. Talks are expected to continue ahead of the meeting.

FASTFACTS

OPEC+ is meeting in person in Vienna for the first time since March 2020.

Saudi Arabia first flagged the possibility of cuts to correct the market in August.

The output cuts are being considered on the back of a slide in oil prices from multiyear highs reached in March and market volatility.

India cuts tax

The Indian government has cut a windfall tax on domestically produced crude oil to 8,000 ($97.99) rupees per ton from 10,500 rupees per ton from Sunday, after a decline in global oil prices.

India has also scrapped an export tax on jet fuel and halved export duties on diesel to 5 rupees per liter from Sunday, a government notification said.

NNPC transaction

Nigeria’s state-owned oil company NNPC Ltd. has bought the marketing business of unlisted OVH Energy, giving it access to 380 fuel stations in Africa’s largest oil producer and Togo, among other assets, the two companies said on Saturday.

OVH Energy Marketing, the owner and operator of Oando branded retail service stations, said the outlets would be rebranded NNPC and full integration is expected by the end of 2023.

The deal also gives NNPC access to eight liquefied petroleum gas plants, three aviation depots and 12 warehouses.

NNPC, which became a commercial entity in July, already owns more than 500 fuel stations across Nigeria and said it would be ready for an initial public offering by mid-next year.


Saudi real GDP expected to rise by nearly 8 percent, say analysts

Saudi real GDP expected to rise by nearly 8 percent, say analysts
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi real GDP expected to rise by nearly 8 percent, say analysts

Saudi real GDP expected to rise by nearly 8 percent, say analysts
  • Inflation is predicted to be 2.6 percent and 2.1 percent in 2022 and 2023 respectively: Al Rajhi Capital

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s budgeted revenues for 2023 are likely to be based on the Brent price at $76 per barrel, said Al Rajhi Capital in its assessment of the Kingdom’s budget figures.  

“For 2023, we believe oil revenues could reach SR754 billion ($200.7 billion) and non-oil revenue at SR417 billion,” said the head of research at Al Rajhi Capital Mazen Al Sudairi.

“Based on our assessment, the government’s 2023 budgeted revenues are likely based on an assumption of brent at around $76 a barrel.” 

Real gross domestic product growth is forecast to increase by nearly 8 percent year-on-year in 2022 and 3.1 percent year-on-year in 2023, according to Al-Rajhi Capital.

Inflation is expected to be 2.6 percent and 2.1 percent in 2022 and 2023 respectively, Al-Rajhi said.

Revised 2022 revenues are mostly in line with estimates, however, the expenditure budget is much higher than from an earlier announcement, it said.

The Kingdom’s Finance Ministry’s preliminary budget statement projected spending to reach SR1.11 trillion next year, with revenue of SR1.12 trillion. 

The 2023 spending budget was raised by 18 percent, with a slight fiscal surplus of SR9 billion expected for 2023.

The world’s largest oil exporter is expected to balance the books in the coming year, having emerged with a quickly developing balance sheet due to the rebound in crude. 

Saudi officials expressed intention to change the heavy reliance on petrodollars and “decouple” the Kingdom’s spending from oil volatility as it puts the country’s economy at the mercy of uncertainty in the oil market. 

Its budget surplus was recorded at SR78 billion in the second quarter of 2022, an almost 50 percent rise from the same time last year. 

Its revenue reached SR370.4 billion whereas expenditure totaled SR292.5 billion in the second quarter of this year, according to the ministry. 

The ministry’s estimates showed that oil revenue stood at SR250.4 billion, signaling an 89 percent year-on-year rise in the second quarter. 

However, the Kingdom’s non-oil revenues only rose by 3 percent to SR120 billion in the second quarter. 

Domestic debt reached SR604.8 billion at the end of June, up from SR558.8 billion in the previous half, showed the ministry data. 

The Finance Ministry’s data showed that the Kingdom’s external debt fell from SR379.3 billion to SR361.8 billion in the same period. 

The objectives of the state’s general budget for the fiscal year 2023 come as a continuation of the process of work to strengthen and develop the financial position of the Kingdom, Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said.

“The government attaches great importance to enhancing the support and social protection system and accelerating the pace of strategic spending on Vision (2030) programs and major projects to support economic growth,” Al-Jadaan added.

The Kingdom’s economy has demonstrated its strength and durability by achieving high growth rates, after taking many policies and measures with the aim of protecting the economy from the repercussions of inflation and supply chain challenges, the minister said.


Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce forms new board for businesswomen council

Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce forms new board for businesswomen council
Updated 02 October 2022

Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce forms new board for businesswomen council

Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce forms new board for businesswomen council
  • Council enables female entrepreneurs to capitalize on business opportunities

ABU DHABI: The Board of Directors of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has formed a new board for the Abu Dhabi Businesswomen Council, Emirates News Agency reported.

The new board’s mission is to help female entrepreneurs improve their skills, introduce them to relevant laws and policies, and teach them how to take advantage of local and federal government initiatives.

It is part of the chamber’s efforts to help businesswomen and female entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi contribute to the emirate’s economic growth.

The ADBWC board, chaired by Asma Al-Fahim, is made up of Abu Dhabi Chamber board members as well as successful Abu Dhabi businesswomen such as Nour Al-Tamimi, Dr. Khadija Al-Ameri, Marwa Al-Mansoori and Shaikha Al-Nowais.

“Over the past 50 years, the UAE has placed women’s empowerment amongst its top priorities and supported the Emirati woman to be a key partner in building the UAE,” Al-Fahim said.

She added: “The support of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, president of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, supreme chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and honorary chairwoman of the ADBWC, played a huge role in women’s development in all fields, especially entrepreneurship. Thanks to H.H. Sheikha Fatima, the Emirati woman is now equipped with all the factors of success to occupy her proper place regionally and internationally.”

Al-Fahim added that the ADBWC is eager to increase communication with businesswomen in Abu Dhabi in order to keep them up to date on the latest economic changes.

Furthermore, Al-Fahim said that the council will launch new initiatives and programs to support the business environment, giving female entrepreneurs the necessary tools to capitalize on business opportunities locally, regionally and internationally.


Saudi Mouwasat completes $27m acquisition of 51% of Jeddah Doctors Co.

Saudi Mouwasat completes $27m acquisition of 51% of Jeddah Doctors Co.
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi Mouwasat completes $27m acquisition of 51% of Jeddah Doctors Co.

Saudi Mouwasat completes $27m acquisition of 51% of Jeddah Doctors Co.

RIYADH: Saudi healthcare provider Mouwasat Medical Services Co. said that it has completed the acquisition of 51 percent of Jeddah Doctors Co. in a deal worth SR102 million ($27 million).

The financial impact of this acquisition is expected to appear in the third quarter of 2022, according to a bourse filing.

Jeddah Doctors Co. is a Saudi closed joint stock company that owns a hospital presently under construction in Jeddah called Jeddah Doctors Hospital.


TASI in green as recession concerns ease: Closing bell

TASI in green as recession concerns ease: Closing bell
Updated 02 October 2022

TASI in green as recession concerns ease: Closing bell

TASI in green as recession concerns ease: Closing bell

RIYADH: The Saudi main index ticked up in its first trading session of October as investor recession fears subsided.

The Tadawul All Share Index ended  0.72 percent higher to reach 11,487; the parallel market Nomu edged 0.34 percent higher to 19,939.

Saudi oil giant Aramco ended with a 0.28 percent decline, while Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. edged up 1.31 percent.

The Saudi National Bank, the Kingdom’s largest lender, fell 0.63 percent, while Saudi British Bank increased by 2.43 percent.

The Kingdom’s most valued bank Al Rajhi gained 1.48 percent, while Alinma Bank gained 1.93 percent.

Saudi Paper Manufacturing Co. decreased by 0.19 percent, after it signed SR166 million ($44 million) agreement with Italy-based Toscotec for a raw tissue paper roll production line.

Retal Urban Development Co. dropped 0.28 percent, after its shareholders approved a cash dividend of SR2 per share for the first half of 2022.

Tihama Advertising and Public Relations Co. declined 1.61 percent to lead the fallers, after the company and UK-based WPP postponed their merger agreement until Oct. 31, 2022.

Middle East Healthcare Co. led the pack of gainers with an increase of 9.93 percent.