Pfizer Agrees To Let Other Companies Make Its COVID Antiviral Pill

By Bill Galluccio

November 16, 2021

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Photo: Getty Images

Pfizer announced that it has signed a deal with the Medicines Patent Pool to allow other companies to manufacture generic versions of its experimental new COVID-19 antiviral pill.

The agreement will make the pill, known as Paxlovid, readily available in 95 low- and middle-income countries.

“It’s quite significant that we will be able to provide access to a drug that appears to be effective and has just been developed to more than 4 billion people,” Esteban Burrone, head of policy at the Medicines Patent Pool, said.

Pfizer said the treatment, which combines the pill with another antiviral drug, ritonavir, decreases the chance of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by 89% when given within three days of a patient showing symptoms of COVID-19.

As part of the deal, Pfizer will not receive royalties on sales in low-income countries and will waive all royalties until the World Health Organization declares that the coronavirus pandemic is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

It will take several months before drugmakers can begin to manufacture the pill, which has not yet been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer said it will submit clinical trial data to the FDA by the end of the month and hopes to work with regulators across the globe to get the drug quickly approved.

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