Pfizer to supply 4 million Covid-19 treatment courses

Wednesday March 23, 2022 at 2:05 pm

Pfizer Inc. recently announced an agreement with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)  under which it will supply up to 4 million treatment courses of its novel Covid-19 oral treatment, Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir [PF-07321332] tablets and ritonavir tablets), to several low- and middle-income countries, pending the needed authorization or approval. Ninety-five countries stand to benefit from this, including all low- and lower-middle-income countries, some upper-middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and countries that have transitioned from lower-middle to upper-middle-income status in the last five years. That will account for approximately 53% of the total human population.

The financial details of this agreement were not disclosed. Pfizer intends to make supply available to support the orders under this agreement in April 2022. It will continue to supply throughout 2022, according to country needs and pending regulatory authorization or approval. Pfizer will offer the benefiting countries with low or middle income the treatment courses at the not-for-profit price, while others with upper-middle-income will pay the price defined in Pfizer’s tiered pricing approach.

“We have seen the negative impacts of Covid-19 in every part of the world and know that we must work towards access for all people regardless of where they live or their circumstances,” asserted  Albert Bourla. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of  Pfizer. “Supplying to UNICEF is an important part of our comprehensive strategy to accelerate access to Paxlovid to treat Covid-19 infection as quickly as possible and at an affordable price to decrease the strain on healthcare systems and help save lives in low- and middle-income countries,” he added.

Pfizer Inc. is committed to ushering in equitable access to this treatment for all people and aims to deliver safe and effective antiviral therapeutics at an affordable price as soon as possible. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it will offer its oral therapy through a tiered pricing approach, pending authorization or approval by the country’s government. This tiered approach is based on each country’s income level and is scaled to promote equity of access across the globe. Thus the high and upper-middle-income countries will pay more than lower-income countries.

Pfizer continues to invest in the infrastructure used to manufacture and distribute this treatment, including exploration of potential contract manufacturing options. Pfizer has thus been able to raise its production projections, and it now can produce up to 120 million courses of this treatment by the end of 2022. It has also initiated bilateral outreach to over 100 countries around the planet and has entered into mutually beneficial agreements with many of them. Additionally, it has signed a voluntary license agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) for the treatment to expand access in 95 low- and middle-income countries.

Paxlovid is a SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mopar) inhibitor-based therapy. It was developed to be administered orally. Thus, it can be prescribed at the first sign of infection or, assuming clinical trial of the rest of the EPIC development program succeeds and is subject to respective regulatory authorization, at the moment of the first awareness of exposure, thus potentially helping people avoid severe illness which might lead to such dire consequences like hospitalization and death and prevent disease development if one is in contact with a household member with Covid-19. Nirmatrelvir [PF-07321332] is designed to block the activity of the enzyme called Mopar. The COVID-19 virus needs this enzyme to replicate. Co-administration with a low dose of ritonavir can help slow the metabolism or breakdown of nirmatrelvir. Thus it will remain active in the body for longer and higher concentrations.