Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) has reached an agreement to supply as many as six million courses of its oral COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir) to the Global Fund, which seeks to help more than 100 low-to-middle income countries fight diseases such as COVID-19, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Pfizer notes that the agreement with the Global Fund is part of a broader strategy to ensure equitable global access to Paxlovid.
The Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism offers grant support to developing countries to procure COVID-19 tests, treatments and personal protective gear.
The Global Fund determined which 132 countries were eligible after reviewing data related to income classification and disease burden.
Pfizer will use a tiered pricing scheme for Paxlovid for the 132 countries. According to that plan, low- and lower-middle-income countries will pay a not-for-profit price for the drug, while upper-middle-income countries will pay a rate determined by the company’s tiered pricing scheme.
“After so much disruption and loss due to COVID-19, we must continue to accelerate access to Paxlovid as a 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,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, in a statement. “This agreement with Global Fund is a critical step that will boost equitable access for high-risk patients in low-and-middle-income countries.”
Earlier this year, Pfizer agreed with UNICEF to supply as many as four million courses of Paxlovid to low- and middle-income countries.
Pfizer is also permitting generic manufacturers to produce the drug. Earlier this month, India-based Zenara Pharma announced it would market a generic version of Paxlovid.
In the U.S., FDA revised the emergency use authorization for Paxlovid in July to allow state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe the drug to certain patients.
While the drug was initially hailed as a game changer in the fight against COVID-19, a number of people completing a course of the drug have experienced a rebound of symptoms.
Clinical trial data, however, have highlighted Paxlovid’s ability to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in high-risk nonhospitalized patients.
In an interim analysis of the Phase 2/3 EPIC-HR study, for instance, the drug cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 89%.