Pfizer to share its COVID-19 pill formula with other drugmakers

Pfizer on Nov. 16 signed a licensing deal that allows other drugmakers to manufacture the COVID-19 antiviral pill it is developing, a move that will create cheaper access to the drug in low-income nations.

The drugmaker granted royalty-free licensing to the pill, called Paxlovid, to the Medicines Patent Pool, a United Nations-backed nonprofit focused on making medical treatments more accessible globally. The deal will allow companies in 95 countries to manufacture the pill. 

"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,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, PhD, said in a news release. "We must work to ensure that all people — regardless of where they live or their circumstances — have access to these breakthroughs, and we are pleased to be able to work with MPP to further our commitment to equity."

Pfizer's announcement comes three weeks after Merck signed a similar licensing deal with the Medicines Patent Pool for molnupiravir, the COVID-19 antiviral pill it is developing with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Paxlovid cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by 89 percent, according to Pfizer. The drugmaker plans to file for emergency use authorization from the FDA as soon as possible.


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