The UN-backed Medicine Patent Pool says about three dozen companies worldwide will soon begin developing generic versions of Pfizer’s coronavirus pill.
Medicine Patent Pool said in a statement that the agreements signed with 35 companies would help make Pfizer’s antiviral Nirmatrelvi or Paxlovoid available to more than half the world’s population.
Generic drug makers across a dozen countries in Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Eastern Europe will begin producing either Pfizer raw ingredients or pills. Ukraine was one of the licensed companies, which has not yet confirmed whether it can participate.
“It will make a huge difference for countries.” Charles Gore is executive director of the Medicine Patent Pool. He says the availability of Pfizer drugs in some of the world’s poorest countries is particularly critical. “They were behind the scenes for the vaccine, so such treatment in the arsenal would be crucial to preventing death.”
Gore estimates that some generic companies may be ready to submit their drugs for regulatory approval later this year, with some supplies available in 2023.
Pfizer’s drug has been found to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in people at risk of severe COVID-19 by up to 90%; It is also thought to be effective against the Omicron variant because it does not target the spike protein of the coronavirus, where most disturbing mutations occur.
In January, Medicine Patent Poole announced a similar deal with Merck, when it entered into an agreement with more than two dozen companies licensed to manufacture their Covid Peel, Malnupiravi.
No company that makes the Covid-19 vaccine has yet agreed to work with the group to allow other manufacturers to make their shots.