The pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer has signed a $5.3 billion deal with the United States government to supply its anti-Covid Paxlovid pills to the American people, according to a statement released by the company on Thursday.
This is enough to supply a total of 10 million courses of its antiviral drug, as the medication is placed before the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization.
The Pfizer pill is the second one to be developed to fight the coronavirus, after Merck’s Molnupiravir, which was placed before the FDA for review on October 11.
Molnupiravir is already approved for emergency use in the United Kingdom.
The Pfizer deal is nearly double the amount of the contract that the US inked with Merck although the cost of the oral medication is lower, to the tune of $530, as opposed to the $700 that one course of the Merck pills costs.
After recently telling the press that his corporation would file for approval “before Thanksgiving,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla put the results of laboratory tests before the FDA this week.
According to the pharmaceuticals firm, Paxlovid is 89% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in this who are at risk for severe Covid.
President Joe Biden announced in a statement on Thursday “While this pill still requires a full review by the Food and Drug Administration, I have taken immediate steps to secure enough supply for the American people.”
Like the coronavirus injections that hundreds of millions of Americans and other peoples around the world have received, the anti-Covid pills will also be easily accessible and free of any cost.
Pfizer noted in its statement that it will begin deliveries of Paxlovid pills as soon before the year is out if it is authorized for emergency use by the FDA.
Market watchers noted on Thursday that Pfizer shares rose 1%, to $51.40 in early trading, while Merck shares were marginally lower.
Reuters reports that Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra stated that becoming vaccinated should still be a priority for Americans, but the anti-covid pills that may allow at-risk individuals to stay out of the hospital “could be a lifesaver.”
The Pharma behemoth says that it has the capacity to manufacture 180,000 courses of treatment by the end of December; possibly more than 50 million courses of the anti-covid pill may be produced by the end of next year.
Nations all around the world have hurried to order millions of courses of both the Pfizer and Merck oral drugs after impressive trial results of the pills were announced by the companies.
The U.S. government reports that it has already ordered 3.1 million courses of Merck’s Molnupiravir pill for a whopping $2.2 billion; it has also secured the right to purchase 2 million more treatments in the future.