Cheap generic versions of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill to be made for 95 nations including Vietnam

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Cheap generic versions of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill to be made for 95 nations including Vietnam

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment pill Paxlovid is seen in a box, at Misericordia hospital in Grosseto, Italy, February 8, 2022. Photo: Reuters

Thirty-five producers around the world have engaged to manufacture the generic versions of Paxlovid, a Pfizer’s COVID-19 medicine, and sell them affordably to 95 low- and medium-income countries, including Vietnam, the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), an international public health group, has said.

The MPP, which entered into a licensing agreement with Pfizer for authorization of the production of generic Paxlovid in last November, on Friday said it had signed deals with 35 companies in 12 countries to manufacture the oral medication, which will be provided for the said 95 countries accounting for 53 percent of the world’s population.

All the firms, to which MPP will grant sub-licenses for Paxlovid production, meet all its requirements on manufacturing capability and comply with international standards and regulations on medicine quality, the group said.

The aforementioned 12 countries include India, China, Bangladesh, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Jordan, Israel, Mexico, Pakistan, Serbia, South Korea and Vietnam.

The Paxlovid production was announced as many countries around the world have been easing restrictions on COVID-19 prevention and moving towards treating it as an endemic disease, like seasonal Influenza.

This generic drug is therefore administered as three tablets (two of nirmatrelvir and the other of ritonavir) taken together orally twice daily for five days, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, adding that the medicine is not authorized for use for longer than five consecutive days.

Paxlovid is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after the diagnosis of COVID-19, the FDA recommended.

The generics of Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 medication are expected to be much cheaper than the genuine ones, but it is currently unknown how much they will cost.

On December 22 last year, FDA granted an emergency use authorization to Pfizer’s Paxlovid for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.

Paxlovid, however, “is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination and a booster dose are recommended,” FDA said.

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