Inside Pfizer's Global Effort to Support UN SDG #3

Achieving good health and well-being around the world is critical to the company's mission

  • SDG 3 drives Pfizer's business and societal mission.
  • Creative partnerships support progress toward health and well-being targets.
  • Quality healthcare access is essential to a more just, equitable world.

Global Goal 3: Central to Pfizer's Mission

For Pfizer, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: Good Health and Well-Being is more than just a target that aligns with our company's core values. Rather, we view achieving this goal as critical to our mission. For more than 160 years, Pfizer has been making significant and far-reaching global health contributions, reaching millions of individuals each year. Fundamental to our approach in supporting global health is the understanding that our business and societal mission is the same: we discover, develop and bring to market life-saving medicines and vaccines that improve people's lives while helping to ensure individuals have access to them.

To help drive progress toward SDG 3, we combine traditional philanthropic approaches with creative commercial strategies — such as market access partnerships, localized support and tiered pricing— that make it easier for underserved patients and communities to access our products. One example includes a novel collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Cipla that increases access to critical cancer medications, including chemotherapies, through competitive pricing strategies in six African countries, thus improving the quality of available oncology treatments. This tailored approach represents a natural evolution of Pfizer's corporate responsibility strategy, supplementing more traditional philanthropic activities such as cash and product donations.

Partnerships are Key to Achieving SDG 3

Creative partnerships are essential for Pfizer to help make an impact in global public health — and to achieving SDG 3. We work to identify individuals and organizations who have innovative solutions to solving some of the most pressing global health issues, and then determine how Pfizer can most effectively contribute the resources and tools needed to overcome these challenges. Our partnerships range in size and scope, and involve a variety of stakeholders, including international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, community healthcare workers and entrepreneurs. An example of this is our work involving trachoma, a neglected tropical disease and the world's leading infectious cause of blindness. With more than 100 partners, from small non-profits to large multilateral organizations, we are working to eliminate this disease, extending our donation program through 2025, which provides an antibiotic used to help treat and prevent trachoma to the communities that need it most.

By focusing on the specific needs of a community and partnering to provide the tools necessary to scale solutions, we are able to reach even the most vulnerable and remote populations with holistic health strategies and products that can have a profound impact. Our Global Health Innovation Grants program provides funding for entrepreneurs and social enterprises that are improving health on a local level. The grants allow these smaller organizations to take their high impact innovations to the next level, increasing access to quality healthcare in underserved communities. Pfizer is also supporting a program being implemented by four partners in five African countries that provides family planning access and education for women and men at the same time their children are routinely vaccinated, increasing the efficiency of clinic visits. We recently announced a second round of funding for these innovative programs.

Ensuring Good Health and Well-Being for All

As a global pharmaceutical company, we believe we have a responsibility to not only improve health worldwide, but to set the standard for effectively incorporating the SDGs into our business strategy. SDG 3 provides a roadmap for Pfizer and our partners to increase access to quality healthcare around the world, increasing the opportunity for all people to lead longer, healthier, and more productive lives.

Visit www.Pfizer.com/IndividualVoices to learn more about how Pfizer is supporting progress toward the Global Goals.

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In 1983, as the HIV and AIDS was ramping up in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration banned blood donations from men who'd ever had sex with other men. The policy remains active, though in 2015 the FDA narrowed its ban to apply only to men who've had sex with another man in the past year.

Soon, the ban could be lifted altogether.

A growing number of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are calling to end the long-standing policy, which gay-rights advocacy groups say promotes homophobia and is no longer necessary, thanks to modern disease-screening techniques. Most harmfully, the ban could be preventing healthy blood from reaching patients who need it, when blood shortages are already alarmingly common.

"The one-year deferral period for male blood donors who identify as gay and bisexual has nothing to do with science or medicine and everything to do with outdated stigmas against the LGBTQ community," a spokesperson for Beto O'Rourke's campaign told The Independent, which received similar responses from the campaigns of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Delaney, and Marianne Williamson.

"Our blood screening policies must be based on 21st century medical evidence, not outdated biases about which populations carry more risk of HIV transmission. These policies serve no one and will only limit access to life-saving blood donations."

The ban hasn't been a key issue in past elections, said William McColl, director of health policy with the advocacy group AIDs United.

"I'm pleased to hear that they're talking about it. I think it shows that we've come a really long way in a short period of time," McColl told The Independent. "This discussion wasn't happening even 10 years ago, for sure."

House Democrats tried to lift the FDA's current policy in 2016, but the legislation never passed.

​Is the FDA's current policy based on science?

Not really, according to Georges C. Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association.

"[The FDA's 12-month policy on gay donors] continues to prevent low-risk individuals from contributing to our blood supply and maintains discriminatory practices based on outdated stereotypes," he wrote in comments submitted to the FDA in 2015. "Instead, we strongly urge FDA to issue guidance that is grounded in science to ensure a safe and robust blood supply."

Benjamin noted that current screening technology can identify HIV in blood donations within 11 days, and that the odds of an infected sample making it past screening is about 1 in 3.1 million. The Williams Institute, a think-tank at UCLA School of Law, estimates that eliminating the ban would add 615,300 pints to the national blood supply each year, an increase of about 4 percent.

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"I think the market for this would be small—small, but enthusiastic," Musk explained.

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Check out the submarine car sequence from the “Spy Who Loved Me” here: