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  • Writer's pictureWGON

Pfizer to supply UNICEF with 4 million COVID-19 pills for poorer nations

( Washington Times )

Pfizer said Tuesday it reached a deal with the humanitarian-aid branch of the U.N. to supply 4 million courses of its pills for COVID-19 to low- and middle-income countries, likely making them the first significant treatments available in poorer parts of the world.

The drugmaker plans to make 120 million courses of the drug, known as Paxlovid, this year, but many wealthy countries had snapped up available supply. President Biden secured 20 million courses for the U.S.

Pfizer said it will sell courses to poorer counties at a non-for-profit price but did not disclose the details.

The countries impacted by the deal with UNICEF account for about 53% of the global population, although countries must approve the drugs for use before receiving them under the deal.

“We have seen the negative impacts of COVID-19 in every part of the world and know that we must work towards access for all people regardless of where they live or their circumstances,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said.

The first orders will be fulfilled in April and the company said it will work to continue shipments through the year.

Paxlovid was found to be highly effective in warding off severe disease from the virus when taken alongside ritonavir tablets. The company said the drug inhibits the virus’ ability to replicate and has been effective against all known variants.

Beyond the UNICEF pact, Pfizer said it has reached bilateral deals with 100 countries to offer the drug and entered a deal with the Medicines Patent Pool, a nonprofit, to make generic versions of the drug, although they won’t be available as quickly as Pfizer’s pills.

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