Pfizer to allow (*95*) versions of its COVID-19 pill in 95 countries By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Pfizer brand is positioned close to medicines from the identical producer in this illustration taken September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Michael Erman and Emma Farge

(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc (NYSE:) mentioned on Tuesday it’ll allow (*95*) producers to provide its experimental antiviral COVID-19 pill to 95 low- and middle-income countries via a licensing settlement with worldwide public well being group Medicines Patent Pool (NASDAQ:) (MPP).

The voluntary licensing settlement between Pfizer and the MPP will allow the United Nations-backed group to grant sub-licenses to certified (*95*) drug producers to make their very own versions of PF-07321332. Pfizer will promote the capsules it manufactures underneath the model title Paxlovid.

Pfizer, which additionally makes one of the principally broadly used COVID-19 vaccines, has mentioned the pill reduce the possibility of hospitalization or loss of life for adults in danger of extreme illness by 89% in its scientific trial. The drug might be used in mixture with ritonavir, an HIV drug that’s already accessible generically.

Pfizer’s licensing deal follows an identical association by rival Merck & Co for (*95*) manufacturing of its COVID-19 remedy. The offers are uncommon preparations that acknowledge the dire want for efficient therapies in addition to the strain drugmakers are underneath to make their life saving medication accessible at very low prices.

“We are extremely pleased to have another weapon in our armoury to protect people from the ravages of COVID-19,” Charles Gore, Executive Director of the Medicines Patent Pool, mentioned in an interview.

Gore mentioned he hoped the (*95*) model of Pfizer’s drug might be accessible inside months.

The 95 countries in the license settlement cowl round 53% of the world’s inhabitants and embrace all low- and lower-middle-income countries and a few upper-middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. They additionally embrace countries which have transitioned from lower-middle to upper-middle-income standing in the previous 5 years, Pfizer and the MPP mentioned.

“We believe oral antiviral treatments can play a vital role in reducing the severity of COVID-19 infections… We must work to ensure that all people – regardless of where they live or their circumstances – have access to these breakthroughs,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla mentioned in an announcement.

Pfizer will waive royalties on gross sales in low-income countries. It may even waive them in the opposite countries coated by the settlement so long as COVID-19 stays categorized as a public well being emergency of worldwide concern by the World Health Organization.

Pfizer’s model of the drug might be in excessive demand. The firm has mentioned it expects to manufacture 180,000 remedy programs by the top of subsequent month and at the very least 50 million programs by the top of 2022.

Even so, the drugmaker could possibly be stretched attempting to provide 47% of the world’s inhabitants. A Pfizer govt mentioned final week the marketplace for the drug may be up to 150 million folks and that many countries may additionally have an interest in shopping for doses for his or her strategic reserves.

Pfizer has mentioned it’ll promote the availability it produces utilizing a tiered pricing method based mostly on the earnings degree of every nation. In the United States, it expects to worth its remedy shut to the place Merck has priced its drug at round $700 a course.

Merck has license agreements for it COVID-19 pill, molnupiravir, in over 100 countries. Still, some worldwide well being officers mentioned even that isn’t sufficient for the drugs to attain many in low- and middle-income countries in massive sufficient numbers.

(This story corrects to repair typo in lead paragraph)

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