US to pay Pfizer nearly $2.7b for more Paxlovid courses in 2023

The US drugmaker said in 2021 that it could produce up to 120 million courses of Paxlovid this year. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - The US government agreed to pay Pfizer nearly US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) for an additional 3.7 million courses of its Covid-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid, the company said on Tuesday.

The new purchase supplements the 20 million courses previously bought by the United States and delivery is planned by early 2023, Pfizer said in a statement.

The Biden administration previously agreed to pay around US$10.6 billion – roughly US$530 per treatment course – for the first 20 million courses ordered. The government is paying around the same amount per course under the new contract.

Pfizer, which also sells a Covid-19 vaccine it developed with German partner BioNTech, is expected to top US$100 billion in revenue in 2022, more than half of which is expected to come from its Covid-19 business.

Before the new contract, analysts had forecast Paxlovid sales would top US$22 billion in 2022 and be close to US$12 billion in 2023, according to Refinitiv data.

The US drugmaker said in 2021 that it could produce up to 120 million courses of Paxlovid this year.

As of Nov 30, Pfizer had shipped almost 37 million courses of Paxlovid to 52 countries around the world, it said in a statement. That includes all 20 million courses previously ordered by the US government.

The two-drug oral treatment is currently available for free in the US, where more than 9 million courses have been delivered to pharmacies, and patients have used over 6 million courses of the treatment, according to government data.

Last December, the US Food and Drug Administration authorised Paxlovid for use in people aged 12 and older at risk of severe illness from Covid-19.

In Pfizer’s clinical trial, Paxlovid was shown to reduce hospitalisations and death by around 90 per cent for unvaccinated people at risk for serious disease.

In another trial, Pfizer was not able to show the treatment was effective in those considered at standard risk, including vaccinated patients. REUTERS

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