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Pfizer signs deal to allow expanded use of COVID-19 treatment

Pfizer has signed a new deal with UN-backed organisation the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to increase access to its COVID-19 treatment for low- and middle-income countries.

The two parties have signed a voluntary license agreement for Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment candidate PF-07321332, which is administered with low dose ritonavir.

Under the terms of the agreement, MPP will be able to facilitate additional production and distribution of the treatment, pending regulatory authorisation, by granting sub-licenses to generic medicines manufacturers in 95 countries.

This includes all low- and middle-income countries 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.

Pfizer will not receive royalties on sales in low-income countries and will also waive royalties on sales in all countries covered by the agreement while COVID-19 remains classified as a Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO.

“Pfizer remains committed to bringing forth scientific breakthroughs to help end this pandemic for all people. 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,” said Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive officer, Pfizer.

“We must work to ensure that all people – regardless of where they live or their circumstances – have access to these breakthroughs, and we are pleased to be able to work with MPP to further our commitment to equity,” he added.

“This license is so important because, if authorized or approved, this oral drug is particularly well-suited for low- and middle-income countries and could play a critical role in saving lives, contributing to global efforts to fight the current pandemic. PF-07321332 is to be taken together with ritonavir, an HIV medicine we know well, as we have had a license on it for many years, and we will be working with generic companies to ensure there is enough supply for both COVID-19 and HIV,” added Charles Gore, executive director of MPP.