Pfizer allows other companies to manufacture COVID-19 Pills for distribution to poorer countries

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Pfizer has agreed to allow other companies to make their landmark pill to fight COVID-19 and distribute it to poorer nations, the Associated Press reported.

The agreement was reached Tuesday between the drug company and a U.N.-backed organisation to allow other producers to make the pill. The move could make the treatment available to more than half of the world’s population, the AP reported.

“Pfizer will not receive royalties on sales in low-income countries and will further 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,”Pfizer stated in the statement.

Pfizer stated that it had granted its license to the Geneva-based Medicines Patent Pool. This will allow generic drug companies to produce the antiviral pills in 95 countries. NBC News reported.

“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 was the Medicines Patent Pool’s head of policy, according to a statement sent to the AP.

Despite being granted a license, the drug is not allowed to be used in large countries. 

“We try to strike a very delicate balance between the interests of the (company), the sustainability required by generic producers and most importantly, the public health needs in lower and middle-income countries,”Burrone spoke.

Pfizer had earlier announced the pill after it was proven to be effective in 89% cases of high-risk conditions. CNN reported.

Paxlovid is a drug that can be used to treat COVID-19 symptoms in high-risk individuals. BBC reported.

“These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved or authorized by regulatory authorities, has the potential to save patients’ lives, reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections, and eliminate up to nine out of ten hospitalizations,”Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s CEO and Chairman, said in a statement that was obtained by NPR.

Pfizer stated that the antiviral pill is most effective when taken within three days of symptoms. NBC News reported.