United States

US government signs $5.29 bn deal with Pfizer for COVID pill treatment

19:21, 18 November 2021
US government signs $5.29 bn deal with Pfizer for COVID pill treatment Photo: Victor Lisitsyn, Виктор Лисицын/Global Look Press

The pharmaceutical company has already requested the Food and Drug Administration to authorize the experimental medication.

The US government and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer have come to an agreement on experimental COVID treatment pills worth $5.29 bln for 10 mln courses.

Pfizer has asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow emergency use of the pill and has sent similar requests to regulators in different parts of the world. In case it gets approved, the medicine called PAXLOVID will become the first oral antiviral against coronavirus.

“We were thrilled with the recent results of our Phase 2/3 interim analysis, which showed overwhelming efficacy of PAXLOVID in reducing the risk of hospitalization among high-risk patients treated within three days of symptom onset by almost 90% and with no deaths,” Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

According to preliminary tests, the pills also managed to cut the hospitalization number among those infected. The company seeks to provide the courses to US authorities later this year and in early 2022 while it is also on its way to reaching agreements with several other countries which have not been specified. Overall, Pfizer aims at selling the pills in around 100 countries.

The FDA is already scrutinizing another pill created by Merck which plans to sell around 3.1 treatment courses. The agency is expected to meet and deliver its decision at the end of November. Merck’s pills have already been authorized in Britain.

A Pfizer’s treatment course is estimated to cost $529 while that of Merck is estimated to reach $700.

US President Joe Biden has expressed gladness at the accord stressing that it was important to make COVID treatment accessible.

“This treatment could prove to be another critical tool in our arsenal that will accelerate our path out of the pandemic,” the American President said in a statement.

The US remains the most hit country by the pandemic with more than 47 mln cases and around 766,000 deaths.