Pfizer sells key vaccine cheaply to poor countries

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Drugmaker Pfizer Inc. will provide 260 millions doses of its vaccine against pneumonia and meningitis for pennies on the dollar to poor countries.

The deal will provide Prevnar 13 vaccine for a few dollars per shot. The U.S. price is nearly $130.

It’s Pfizer’s third such agreement under an innovative program in which drugmakers, governments, health groups and charities collaborate to bring poor countries a long-term supply of affordable, life-saving vaccines.

Prevnar 13 protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal disease. It can cause painful ear infections in young children — and pneumonia, bloodstream infections and meningitis. They can kill or leave survivors deaf, paralyzed or with permanent learning or speech disabilities.

Experts estimate Pfizer’s Prevnar deal and two prior ones could save up to 1.5 million children by 2020.

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