Pfizer announced on Thursday it has reached an agreement to supply up to six million courses of its COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid to the Global Fund to get treatment to low and middle-income countries.
This supply agreement was made as part of the Global Fund’s COVID19 Response Mechanism (C19RM), Pfizer said in a statement provided to The Hill.
“The C19RM has been the primary channel for providing grant support to low- and middle-income countries to purchase COVID-19 tests, treatments, personal protective equipment and critical elements of health systems strengthening,” Pfizer said.
“PAXLOVID treatment courses will be available for procurement through this mechanism, subject to local regulatory approval or authorization, by the 132 grant-eligible countries determined by Global Fund based on income classification and disease burden.”
The company said it expects the supply of Paxlovid to become available sometime this year. The Paxlovid courses will be sold according to Pfizer’s tiered pricing model, with low-income countries paying not-for-profit prices and upper-middle-income countries paying according to the tiered approach.
“After so much disruption and loss due to COVID-19, we must continue to accelerate access to PAXLOVID as a safe and effective treatment option for high-risk patients in all regions of the world along with test and treat programs that help get treatment quickly to those in need,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said.
Access to coronavirus therapeutics like Paxlovid, which must be administered within five days of symptom-onset, has been limited for poorer countries. Efforts to provide access to these treatments to poorer countries have been since they were authorized..
Earlier this month, Pfizer donated 100,000 courses of Paxlovid to the Covid Treatment Quick Start Consortium, a newer organization created with the goal of helping countries set up test-and-treat programmes.
When asked about the possibility of similarly supplying the bivalent COVID-19 booster dose to low and middle-income countries, a representative for Pfizer said, “As it has been the case since the very beginning of this pandemic, we are in regular discussions with many countries — of all income levels — as well as supranational organizations on the supply of our COVID-19 vaccine.”
“We also remain in communication with a number of global health stakeholders, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank to discuss their views and ideas on access in LICs/LMICs. Of note, of the more than 3.7 billion doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine shipped to date, more than 1.5 billion have reached low- and middle-income countries,” they said.