Pfizer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation have teamed up to expand access to the drug giant’s injectable contraceptive Sayana Press (medroxyprogesterone acetate) in 69 of the world’s poorest countries.

The collaboration will effectively subsidise the sale of Pfizer’s contraceptive, which is already available throughout Africa for around $1.50 a dose, so that qualified purchasers can get it at the cheaper price of $1 per dose, giving the poorest women in these countries access at reduced or no cost.

Sayana Press combines a long-acting, reversible, contraceptive with an all-in-one pre-filled, single-use, non-reusable Uniject injection system that eliminates the need to prepare a needle and syringe. This allows the the drug to be administered by health workers to women at home or in other convenient settings. 

“Pfizer saw an opportunity to address the needs of women living in hard-to-reach areas, and specifically enhanced the product’s technology with public health in mind,” said John Young, president of Pfizer's global established pharma business.

More than 200 million women in developing countries want to delay pregnancy or prevent undesired pregnancy but are not using any method of contraception. “Far too many women die or are harmed because of unwanted pregnancies,” said Michael Anderson, chief executive at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, noting that the Pfizer deal will help expand the choice of affordable contraceptives. 

“Access to modern, safe and reliable family planning methods is vital in helping women to control their lives and their futures. Without the ability to choose when they have children and how many they have, too often women lose the opportunity to participate fully in their economies and societies,” said Justine Greening, the UK's international development secretary.