Pfizer signs agreement with China on improving health coverage in the country

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Apple CEO Tim Cook visits Beijing amid rising US-China tensions

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speaks at the China Development Forum in Beijing, China, March 25, 2023.

Lintao Zhang | News from Getty Images | Getty Images

BEIJING – US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has signed an agreement with China to cooperate in improving the country’s health care system, according to the company.

“We are very much aligned with China ‘Healthy 2030’ [initiative] and we try to contribute as much as we can,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC’s Eunice Yoon on Saturday.

He declined to share further details, including dollar amounts.

China announced a “Healthy China 2030” plan in 2016 to improve the country’s public health services, medical industry and food and drug safety. The Covid-19 pandemic has also highlighted shortcomings in China’s nascent public health system.

Pfizer’s MOU with the Health China Research Center aims to support public health research and improve rural health, according to details released by Chinese state media.

“All individuals and citizens from China would have equal access to our innovative product,” said Jean-Christophe Pointeau, President of Pfizer China, in the report.

He said the company has around 600 employees dedicated to helping rural areas “to educate healthcare professionals about our breakthrough innovations oncology, anti-infectives, and inflammation and immunology.”

The comments from the weekend did not discuss the Paxlovid drug used to treat Covid.

In January, Bourla said Pfizer had signed an agreement with a local partner to manufacture Paxlovid in China, with production starting as early as three or four months.