Manufacturers of corona vaccines such as Pfizer, Biontech and Moderna make astronomical profits with the preparations.

They have been accused of not doing enough to make the products available to poorer countries.

Pfizer is now countering such criticism with a large-scale program aimed at health care in poorer regions of the world and going far beyond vaccines.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, CEO Albert Bourla announced that the group would in future offer all of its patented drugs and vaccines in 45 low-income countries around the world at cost price.

The initiative includes a total of 23 products.

These include Pfizer's corona vaccine and the drug Paxlovid, which was launched just a few months ago, to treat people who have been infected with the virus.

Drugs for cancer and other diseases are also part of the program.

Pfizer's promise should also apply to future drugs.

In this context, the company announced a cooperation with the charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on vaccination projects for poorer countries.

With financial support from the Gates Foundation, for example, Pfizer wants to develop vaccinations against a bacterial infection that is often a cause of stillbirths there.

"True Partnership"

The 45 countries set to become part of the program are primarily located in Africa and Southeast Asia.

According to Pfizer, a total of 1.2 billion people live here.

The initiative will initially start with the five countries of Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda before being expanded to other regions.

Pfizer wants to work with authorities in these countries to improve access to health care beyond the mere provision of medicines, for example with a view to diagnosing diseases or modernizing infrastructure.

Lazarus Chakwera, the President of Malawi, said the program is a "true partnership," with Pfizer and the countries sharing responsibilities and costs.

"This helps low-income countries without injuring their dignity." Pfizer CEO Bourla said in Davos that colleagues from other pharmaceutical companies had signaled to him that they wanted to join the initiative.

Thanks to its Corona products, Pfizer is currently in a brilliant economic position.

The group almost doubled its sales to $81.3 billion last year, with a net profit of just under $22 billion.

Developed and marketed with German partner Biontech, the vaccine alone generated sales of $37 billion, with another $32 billion expected this year.

Pfizer expects sales of 22 billion dollars this year for its new corona drug Paxlovid.