The American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced an agreement to make its possible Covid-19 antiviral pill available at a cheaper price in the less wealthy countries of the world.
Pfizer will enable generic manufacturers to supply its promising Paxlovid pill to 95 low- and middle-income countries covering about 53% of the world’s population, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Under the License agreement The agreement reached with the World Drug Patent Fund (MPP), Pfizer, which also produces one of the most widely used Covid vaccines with the German laboratory BioNTech, will not receive royalties from the manufacturers, which will make the treatment cheaper.
The deal is subject to the oral antiviral drug passing ongoing trials and regulatory approval.
Interim data from ongoing trials demonstrated an 89% reduction in risk of Covid-19-related hospitalization or death compared to placebo, in high-risk adults not hospitalized with Covid-19 within three days of onset of symptoms, Pfizer said.
Similar results were seen within five days of the onset of symptoms, he added.
The Geneva-based MPP is a United Nations-backed international organization that works to facilitate drug development for low- and middle-income countries.
If approved, the pill could be on the market in “a matter of months,” MPP policy chief Esteban Burrone told Agence France-Presse.
Pfizer too said On Tuesday he was seeking an emergency use authorization, or US, in the US for the Covid pill.
Pfizer will waive royalties on sales in all countries covered by the agreement, while Covid-19 remains classified as a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization.
Paxlovid, or PF-07321332, is an investigational antiviral therapy designed to block the activity of the Sars-CoV-2-3CL protease, an enzyme that the coronavirus needs to replicate.
Taking it together with a low dose of ritonavir, an HIV medicine, helps slow the breakdown of PF-07321332. Therefore, it remains active in the body for a longer period at a high concentration, to help fight the virus.
“We believe that oral antiviral treatments can play a vital role in reducing the severity of Covid-19 infections, easing the strain on our healthcare systems and saving lives,” said Pfizer President and CEO Albert Bourla.
While a multitude of vaccines have been implemented during the pandemic, the search for treatments for those who have already contracted the disease has not been as fruitful.
“This license is very important because, if licensed or approved, this oral drug is particularly suitable for low- and middle-income countries and could play a critical role in saving lives, contributing to global efforts to combat the current pandemic,” Charles Gore, CEO of MPP, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Potential sublicensees have until December 6 to register an expression of interest.
The announcement comes after MPP signed a similar voluntary license agreement with Pfizer’s US rivals Merck & Co last month for its investigational oral antiviral drug molnupiravir.
Subject to regulatory approval, the agreement will help create broad access to molnupiravir in 105 low- and middle-income countries.
The pills are easier to prepare than vaccines, do not require a cold chain to administer, and can be self-administered by the patient.
The price of the Pfizer pill has yet to be established, and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) suggests that it could cost around $ 700 per course of treatment from Pfizer, in line with molnupiravir.
The medical charity said it was discouraged by the deal, saying the restrictive voluntary licenses were not a substitute for guaranteed global access to Covid tools to control the pandemic.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism