Just a quarter of Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment orders will go to developing countries – World

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Some nations could be paying ten times the price of Paxlovid’s generic equivalent, as WHO chief calls for treatment access to battle acute and long COVID-19

Rich countries have secured almost three times as many courses of a World Health Organisation (WHO)-recommended COVID-19 medicine, Pfizer’s Paxlovid, according to new analysis from Oxfam and the People’s Vaccine Alliance.

Using new data from Airfinity, they found that just a quarter of orders for the treatment will go to low- and middle-income countries, despite the fact they make up 84 per cent of the world’s population and have a much greater need as far fewer people are vaccinated against COVID, unlike rich nations which are largely protected.

On the eve of crunch talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over intellectual property rules for COVID-19 treatments and tests, the organisations are warning that we are seeing the same worrying trend of inequity that we saw with COVID vaccines.

Pfizer’s monopoly also means that some middle-income countries could be paying ten times more for Paxlovid than a generic equivalent, with reports of them being quoted as much as $250 per course. This is despite the fact that other lower-income countries will have access to a Clinton Health Initiative (CHAI) deal with Pfizer and undisclosed generic companies, which means they could access the treatment for just $25 a course.

Dr. Catherine Kobutungi, Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center said: “When vaccines were our main medical tool to fight COVID-19, big pharmaceutical companies prioritized maximizing their profits by selling doses to the richest countries. Millions died while people in low- and middle-income countries were sent to the back of the vaccine queue. And now, we are witnessing a repetition of the same inequity with COVID-19 treatments and tests.”

“Oral antiviral treatments are easy to administer. They reduce hospitalization and…


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About the Author: V. Moss