Pfizer Opens up Details on the Future Distribution of Its Anticovid Pill in LatAm

In an interview, Carlos Murillo, president of Pfizer LatAm, said Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico are participating in clinical studies of Paxlovid and the firm is in talks with governments in the region to acquire the drug.

Carlos Murillo, presidente de Pfizer para América Latina
November 30, 2021 | 01:59 PM

One of Pfizer’s big bets is its oral antiviral candidate, the Paxlovid pill, to significantly reduce the hospitalization and death rates of patients with a high risk of acquiring Covid. The firm submitted its data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to request authorization for emergency use, precisely one year after the first person was inoculated with Pfizer’s vaccine, and approval is expected before the end of 2021.

Several pharmaceutical companies are working on pills and treatments against Covid. Merck is one of the big Pharma in this oral antiviral race, having applied for approval in October. Last week tests revealed that the drug reduced hospitalization or death among adults with a mild or moderate manifestation of the disease by 30%, below what has been promised, at least in studies, by Paxlovid, which is 89% and is in stage 2/3.

Carlos Murillo, president of Pfizer Latam, spoke to Bloomberg Línea on issues such as when, if approved, their pill will reach Latin America and how, considering the huge differences in the distribution of drugs in the region.

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Murillo said Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico are participating in clinical studies of Paxlovid and the firm is in talks with governments in the region to acquire the drug.

He added that a few days ago, Pfizer signed an agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) so that, he said, low-income countries have better access to the drug. Basically, this agreement would allow manufacturers obtain sublicenses for the product, Murillo said. “MPP opened its Expression of Interest process inviting manufacturers to apply for a sublicense”.

He added that Pfizer has invested $1 billion “at risk in the manufacture of this potential oral antiviral candidate Covid with the goal of making treatments available as quickly as possible.” He added that 180,000 doses are expected to be produced by the end of 2021 and 50 million doses by the end of 2022.

“The company’s biggest challenge for Latin America is reducing disparities in our countries. I think the pandemic highlighted them even more. We need to continue to generate economic development opportunities so that this gap is reduced, especially in access to healthcare. This in itself is also the region’s great opportunity. We have a young population, a region with an abundance of resources and a huge need to create economic development,” said Murillo.