Pfizer reaches deal to allow generic versions its COVID pill


Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has signed a deal enabling the production and supply of its experimental COVID anti-viral drug in dozens of lower- and middle-income countries.

The agreement between the US company and the UN-backed international public health group Medical Patent Pool (MPP) would allow producers to manufacture and supply generic versions of the drug in 95 countries without the threat of patent infringement.

Most of the countries included in the deal are in Africa and Asia, covering about 53 percent of the world’s population.

“Pfizer remains committed to bringing forth scientific breakthroughs to help end this pandemic for all people,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive, said on Tuesday.

“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,” he added.

Later on Tuesday, Pfizer asked regulators in the United States to grant its pill emergency use authorisation.

The company has said its late-stage trials showed the pill cut the chance of hospitalisation or death for adults at risk of severe disease by 89 percent. The trials evaluated data from 1,219 positive cases across North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

The drug has shown to be most effective if taken at an early stage of the infections and is given in combination with an older antiviral called ritonavir.

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