According to Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla in an interview with CNBC on Monday, Pfizer Inc. is coordinating with Chinese authorities to supply its COVID-19 medication, Paxlovid, to the nation that is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
China approved Paxlovid for the treatment of high-risk patients in numerous areas in February 2022. The medicine was intended to be most accessible through hospitals.
Pfizer To Export Paxlovid To China
To increase access to the medication, Pfizer has also agreed to export Paxlovid to China via a local business.
At the J.P Morgan Healthcare Conference, Bourla stated, “We are sending as much Paxlovid as we can; our manufacturing equipment is working to be able to deliver at this stage.
Even though Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla stated last week that millions more treatment courses have been shipped in the last few weeks after millions more courses were shipped to the country last year, Chinese authorities have acknowledged that there are still not enough Paxlovid supplies to satisfy demand.
Pfizer said in a statement that it “remains dedicated to serving the COVID-19 treatment needs of Chinese patients and engaging with the Chinese government” and that it “is actively collaborating with Chinese authorities and all stakeholders to secure an appropriate supply of Paxlovid in China.”
China Ramps Up Medications Against COVID-19
Paxlovid is covered by state insurance, albeit only temporarily until the end of March, so patients should only have to pay 198 yuan ($29), or one-tenth of the usual price.
However, China does not provide data on how many treatment courses are available or where they can be purchased, leaving most patients to rely on media reports, word-of-mouth, or even importing through unauthorized grey market channels.
According to the official Guangzhou Daily, patients at the United Family Healthcare hospital in Guangdong were paying 6,000 yuan ($891) for health checks before being allowed to get Paxlovid, which costs 2,300 yuan.
Airfinity, a health data firm, estimated in December that China would require 49 million courses of COVID treatment over the next five months, with more than 22 million required in January alone.
The Pfizer drug can also be purchased online for 2,170 yuan with a prescription, but it usually sells out in seconds.