Pfizer agrees to allow other companies to make its COVID-19 pill.
LONDON (AP) – Pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. has signed an agreement with an UN-backed group to allow other manufacturers to make its experimental COVID-19 pill, a move that could make the treatment available for more than half of the population. world population.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Pfizer said it would license the antiviral pill to the Geneva-based Drug Patent Fund, allowing generic drug companies to produce the pill for use in 95 countries, representing about 53% of the world’s population.
The deal excludes some large countries that have suffered devastating coronavirus outbreaks. For example, while a Brazilian pharmaceutical company could obtain a license to manufacture the pill for export to other countries, the drug could not be manufactured generically for use in Brazil.
Still, health officials said the fact that a deal was reached even before the Pfizer pill was licensed anywhere could help end the pandemic faster.
“It is very significant that we can provide access to a drug that appears to be effective and has just been developed, to more than 4 billion people,” said Esteban Burrone, head of policy for the Drug Patent Fund.
He estimated that other drug manufacturers could start producing the pill in a few months, but acknowledged that the deal would not please everyone.
“We try to strike a very fine balance between the interests of the (company), the sustainability that generics producers require, and most importantly, the public health needs in low- and middle-income countries,” Burrone said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will not receive royalties on sales in low-income countries and will waive royalties on sales in all countries covered by the agreement while COVID-19 remains a public health emergency.
Earlier this month, Pfizer said it’s the pill Reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by almost 90% in people with mild or moderate coronavirus infections. Independent experts recommended stopping the company’s study based on its promising results.
Pfizer said it would ask the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulators to authorize the pill as soon as possible.
Since the pandemic broke out last year, researchers around the world have been rushing to develop a pill to treat COVID-19 that can be easily taken at home to ease symptoms, speed recovery, and keep people out of harm’s way. hospital. At the moment, most COVID-19 treatments need to be administered intravenously or by injection.
Brittany authorized Merck’s COVID-19 pill earlier this month and is pending approval elsewhere. In a similar agreement with the Drug Patent Fund announced in October, Merck agreed to enable other drug manufacturers to make their COVID-19 pill, molnupiravir, available in 105 poorer countries.
Doctors Without Borders said it was “discouraged” that the Pfizer deal does not make the drug available to everyone, noting that the deal announced Tuesday also excludes countries such as China, Argentina and Thailand.
“The world already knows that access to COVID-19 medical tools must be guaranteed for everyone, everywhere, if we really want to control this pandemic,” said Yuanqiong Hu, Senior Legal Policy Adviser at Doctors Without Borders.
Pfizer and Merck’s decisions to share their COVID-19 drug patents stand in stark contrast to the refusal by Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturers to release their vaccine prescriptions for wider production.
A hub Created by the World Health Organization in South Africa with the intention of sharing recipes and messenger RNA vaccine technologies has not attracted a single pharmacist to join.
Less than 1% of Pfizer’s COVID-19 injections have gone to poorer countries.