Pfizer, US ink US$5.29 billion offer for COVID-19 handling

NEW YORK – The US government will pay pharmaceutical maker Pfizer $5.29 billion for 10 million courses of its potential COVID-19 treatment if regulators allow it. , the nation’s largest purchase and sale agreement for a coronavirus therapy.

Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday for emergency use of the experimental pill, which has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalization and death rates in people infected with the coronavirus.

The FDA has been reviewing a competing drug from Merck and will hold a public meeting about it later this month.

The price for Pfizer’s potential treatment comes to about $529 per course. The United States has agreed to pay about $700 per course of Merck’s drug for about 3.1 million treatments.

The price paid by the US government reflects the high volume of treatments purchased through 2022, Pfizer said.

US President Joe Biden said in a statement that his administration is taking steps to ensure that treatments “will be easily accessible and free.”

“This treatment could prove to be another important tool in our arsenal, helping to accelerate the path out of the pandemic,” Biden said, adding that the vaccine protects against the virus. Still the most powerful tool.

Pfizer has already begun submissions for approval in several other countries and also has advanced purchase agreements with other governments.

On Tuesday, Pfizer signed an agreement with a United Nations-backed group to allow generic drugmakers to produce low-cost versions of the pill for certain countries. Merck has a similar contract for its pill, which was authorized in the UK earlier this month.

Pfizer reported earlier this month that its drug had cut hospitalizations and deaths by 89% among adults at high risk for early symptoms of COVID-19.

The company studied its pill in people who were unvaccinated and faced the worst risks from the virus due to age or health problems, such as obesity.

Pfizer wants the drug to be available to adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 infections and at risk of severe illness. That’s similar to how other drugs are currently being used to treat the disease.

But all FDA-approved COVID-19 treatments require intravenous or injection administered by a medical professional at a hospital or clinic.

Pfizer’s potential treatment is taken twice a day for five days, combined with a second antiviral pill to increase its effects.

Pfizer has recorded more than $24 billion in global sales to date from Comirnaty, its COVID-19 vaccine, which has quickly become the drugmaker’s best-selling product.

Shares of Pfizer Inc. The New York-based company was up less than 2% at opening Thursday. They hit an all-time high of $51.86 this summer, topping a previous level that has stood for 22 years.

Pfizer and Merck are seeking approval for their treatment as COVID-19 cases begin to flare up again in the US

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases was 87,000 on Wednesday. This is up from about 68,000 at the end of last month.


AP Health writer Matthew Perrone contributed to this report from Washington, D.C. Murphy reports from Indianapolis


This story has been updated to correct that the US government has agreed to purchase 3.1 million courses of Merck’s drug, not 1.7 million.


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