Pfizer permits other companies to manufacture its promising Covid-19 pill’s generic versions
United States–In a ground breaking development which is a step towards global vaccine equity, US drugmaker giant Pfizer Inc has struck a deal with United Nations backed group that allows other drug making companies to manufacture its experimental, yet highly promising Covid-19 pill. The move is expected to provide pill to poorer countries, which make up for more than half of the world’s population. Pfizer will also allow companies to supply promising Paxlovid pill to 95 middle and low income nations, covering about 53 per cent of global population.
Pfizer has signed a licensing agreement with the global Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), under which it will not receive any royalties from the manufacturer. This will remarkably reduce the market price of pill, making it easily accessible to people. The agreement stands subject to the medicine against Covid-19 passing trials and regulatory approval.
The deal, however, excludes some large nations that have witnessed catastrophic Covid-19 outbreaks. For instance, Brazil will not be able to access the generic pill under agreement, even though a Brazilian drug maker can manufacture it and supply to other countries.
The fact that an agreement has been sealed even before regulatory approval has been rendered to the Pfizer’s anti-viral medication, is an optimistic sign that pandemic can be ended quicker than anticipated. “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, head of policy at the Medicines Patent Pool, said. He added that agreement might not sit well with all parties involved. “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 said.
Paxlovid, or PF-07321332, is an investigational antiviral therapy against Coronavirus that is designed to block the activity of the Sars-CoV-2-3CL protease – an enzyme that the virus needs to replicate. “We believe oral antiviral treatments can play a vital role in reducing the severity of Covid-19 infections, decreasing the strain on our healthcare systems and saving lives,” said Pfizer chairman and chief executive Albert Bourla.