Pfizer attempts to mislead public over research and development ‘facts’ with Tube ads
“Pfizer are really misleading Londoners and MPs with these so-called facts on what it takes to make a medicine; we all know it doesn’t really cost a billion pounds – even GSK’s CEO Andrew Witty has said that this ‘fact’ is one of the industry’s ‘great myths’ – so why are Pfizer not being honest with the public?
“Pfizer’s claims serve nothing but to highlight our broken research and development (R&D) system; they claim they spend a billion pounds on R&D for one medicine, but they don’t tell you how they arrived at that figure. Pfizer are happy to tell us that it costs a billion pounds for R&D, but they don’t tell us what their contribution is. The reality is that tax payers foot much of the R&D bill through the funding and hard work that universities and government-funded laboratories do in actually discovering the compounds that are turned into blockbuster drugs.
“Companies like Pfizer who claim they’re in the business of R&D are really only buying smaller companies with blockbuster drugs to make profit, while shutting their R&D facilities – like the anti-infective R&D unit in the UK – and ignoring the development of drugs we really need. Pfizer’s approach to business, mirrored by many in the pharmaceutical industry today, contributes to the fact that we are on the verge of having no antibiotics left that can treat bacterial infections and there are no approved treatments or vaccines for diseases like Ebola.
“Pfizer makes nearly £12 million a day in sales off the pneumonia vaccine alone, yet continue to price the vaccine out of reach for many developing countries, where almost a million kids die from the disease every year. Pfizer is about to post its latest earnings that are likely to show continued sky-high revenues – we don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to make the vaccine available to all developing countries for US$5 per child.
“Instead of spending money on misleading ad campaigns, Pfizer could save more kids’ lives by slashing the price of the pneumonia vaccine, and we call on the company again to drop the price.”
- Dr Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director, MSF Access Campaign.