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
Pfizer Corporate Responsibility develops programs that help expand global access to medicines by providing direct assistance to underserved populations. Our initiatives include providing product donations and steep discounts that help patients access the medicine they need. We also collaborate with Pfizer business teams and nonprofit organizations to help shape sustainable business models that address affordability and the vast differences in economies around the world.
- 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.
A separate study shows that binge drinkers are also ordering more rounds.
- From 1997 to 2017, alcohol-related deaths among Americans ages 16 and older doubled from 35,914 to 72,558.
- From 2011 to 2017, the average number of drinks consumed by binge-drinkers rose from 472 to 529.
- A 2018 study showed that people who consume six or more drinks per week are more likely to die early.
As little as an extra dollar could mean a significant decrease in suicide rates.
- A new study found that a dollar increase in minimum wage correlated to nearly a six percent reduction in suicide rates among adults aged 18 to 64 with a high school degree or less education.
- Increasing the minimum wage was found to be most effective in the reduction of suicides when unemployment levels were the highest.
- According to the researchers' predictions, raising the minimum wage by just one dollar during the 2008 economic collapse could have prevented over 13,000 suicides.
Over the last few years, suicide rates have been on an alarming rise in the United States. An analysis by the Center for Disease Control found that American suicide rates have gone up by 33 percent since 1999, the highest rate recorded in the country since 1942.
Mental health is a complex topic, and suicide cause and prevention can't be chalked up to any one thing or solution. But, according to a recent study, one answer to preventing at least some of these suicides might be a simple little public policy adjustment: Raising the minimum wage.
The link between financial stress and suicide
Topical Press Agency / Stringer
There are, of course, a multitude of variables that can foster the extreme anxiety and depression that might lead a person to consider ending his or her life. A number of studies in the past indicated that financial stressors — such as mounting debt, the loss of a job, or unemployment — are a big contributor when it comes to the factors that play the most significant roles in suicide. The likelihood of suicide increases among financially distressed people as things like debt become harder to manage.
Because suicide and depression more often affect people who have lower incomes and levels of education, it means that this demographic is also likely to be working at or close to the minimum wage. It seems obvious that researchers would be interested in looking at the correlations between suicide and minimum wage.
New research on suicide and minimum wage
Recently, a team of researchers from Emory University took an in-depth look at the relationship between minimum wage laws and suicide rates. They found that the two do correlate, but only during times of high unemployment and among those with a high school level education, or less.
When it comes to minimum wage, state and federal governments both set standards. The federal government sets a bottom "safety net" for minimum wage. State governments can't dip below that, but they can exceed it. The minimum wage rules of individual states are easy to track and, conveniently, a few states changed their minimum wage during the time period of the study providing a usefully before-and-after comparison for the researchers. Collecting the rest of the data was relatively simple. States provide their unemployment rates, share of GDP, and various other forms of public assistance. Additionally, the National Vital Statistics System provided researchers with a trove of death information, including the cause of death as well the individual's educational background.
Researchers used a "differences in differences" analysis to determine how minimum wage laws were linked to suicide rates. This is a statistical technique used to measure data from two groups, a "treatment" group and a "control" group, at at least two different time periods. One time period being before the "treatment" (in this case, higher minimum wage) and the other being after. In this study, the researchers used individuals with a college-level education as the control group as they are statistically less likely to work a minimum wage job or commit suicide. So, that group's response to changes in the minimum wage laws was compared to that of individuals with a maximum of a high school education. This data was then tracked monthly.
Findings: Higher minimum wage meant lower suicide rates
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
The effect of a one U.S. dollar increase in the minimum wage ranged from a 3.4 percent decrease to a 5.9 percent decrease in the suicide rate among adults aged 18 to 64 with a high school degree or less education. The researchers estimated a six percent reduction in suicide for every dollar increase in minimum wage among that population.
Researchers also observed that increasing the minimum wage was most effective in the reduction of suicides when unemployment levels were the highest. Specifically, a higher minimum wage had maximum impact on reducing suicide when the unemployment rate was over seven percent and minimum wages were at least $1.75 over the national minimum. According to the researcher's predictions, during the 2008 economic collapse raising the minimum wage by just one dollar could have prevented over 13,000 suicides!
Of course, poverty is not the root cause of all suicides, and mental health issues go deeper than one single economic factor. But the study underlines how reducing economic burdens during times when financial stresses are higher can reduce some of the anxiety and depression that leads to suicide risk. Ultimately, this study shows that beyond being good economic policy, raising the minimum wage can save lives by improving the quality of life for America's working class.
Now the question is, will legislators do it?
Today, a quickly emerging set of technologies known as bioprinting is poised to push the boundaries further.
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