Pfizer signed a licensing agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool, a UN-backed organization that allows generic drug companies to reproduce treatments for low- and middle-income countries.
Pfizer’s deal will distribute the experimental paxlovid regimen combined with a low dose of ritonavir to 95 countries, representing roughly half the world’s population.
The company has repeatedly refused to share its COVID-19 vaccine patent, but under this agreement, it will waive royalties on sales in low-income countries and places under a World Health Organization public health emergency.
What is the pill? Pfizer released results from clinical trial results earlier this month that showed paxlovid was nearly 90 percent effective at preventing hospitalization and death in mild and moderate COVID-19 cases.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet authorized the treatment, nor has the study been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Doctors Without Borders criticized the deal because it excludes large countries like Brazil and China even though they continue to grapple with coronavirus outbreaks.
This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.