Pfizer To Supply Unicef Covid-19 Pill For 95 Poor, Middle-Income Countries

Pfizer signed an agreement with Unicef to supply up to 4 million treatment courses of Paxlovid, with supply expected to be available for orders next month.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 – Pfizer Inc has announced an agreement with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to supply up to four million treatment courses of its Paxlovid Covid-19 oral treatment to 95 poor and middle-income  countries, pending approval.

Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla expects supply to be available to support orders in April 2022, and throughout 2022, pending regulatory authorisation and country needs.

Bourla said all low and lower-middle income countries will be offered treatment courses at a not-for-profit price, while upper-middle income countries will pay the price defined in Pfizer’s tiered pricing approach.

“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,” Bourla said in a statement.

“Supplying to UNICEF is an important part of our comprehensive strategy to accelerate the access to Paxlovid to treat Covid-19 infection as quickly as possible and at an affordable price in order to decrease the strain on health care systems and help save lives in low and middle-income countries.” Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. 

The agreement covers all low, lower-middle, and some upper-middle income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as countries that have transitioned from lower-middle to upper-middle income status in the last five years, accounting for about 53 per cent of the total world population.

Pfizer has raised its production projections, with the ability to produce up to 120 million courses of treatment by the end of 2022, pending global demand. The company has initiated bilateral outreach to over 100 countries worldwide, and has entered into agreements with multiple countries, including Malaysia.

Paxlovid has not been approved, but has been authorised for emergency use by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults and paediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40kg) with positive results of direct SARS CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe Covid-19, including hospitalisation or death. 

Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has also given conditional registration approval for Pfizer’s Covid-19 drug Paxlovid on March 3 to treat adults aged 18 and above infected with Covid-19 who do not require oxygen therapy but are at high risk of severe symptoms.

Paxlovid is generally administered at a dose of 300mg (two 150mg tablets) of nirmatrelvir with one 100mg tablet of ritonavir, given twice-daily for five days. 

One carton contains five blister packs of Paxlovid, as co-packaged nirmatrelvir tablets with ritonavir tablets, providing all required doses for a full five-day treatment course. 

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