CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement that the pill could significantly reduce the number of deaths and hospitalizations. The Biden administration is set to announce that it will order at least 10 million courses of the pill.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Tuesday that the pharmaceutical giant is seeking expedited clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its new pill to fight COVID-19.
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The company said the pill has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by 89% in newly infected high-risk patients.
“With more than five million deaths and countless lives affected by this devastating disease around the world, there is an urgent need for treatment options that save lives,” said Bourla.
“We are moving as quickly as possible in our efforts to get this potential treatment into the hands of patients. “
Pfizer is researching what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) based on early results from a clinical trial involving hundreds of COVID-19 patients who were not hospitalized but considered to have a high risk of progression to serious illness.
Biden administration to order millions of doses
The pharmaceutical giant is the second company to apply for an EUA from the FDA after German firm Merck made its request a few weeks ago.
Pfizer said their pill, which is called Paxlovid, caused side effects in one in five patients, but they were mild.
Treatment with Paxlovid lasts five days. The company has announced that it will supply 180,000 courses of its Paxlovid pill this year and at least 50 million by next year.
President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to announce that it is purchasing 10 million doses of the pill, according to the Washington Post. They have already placed an order for 3.1 course of the Merck pill, Molnupiravir.
Given the delay between EUA’s request and subsequent authorization, the pills could be available to at-risk patients by the end of the year or early next year.
The development of the pills has been hailed by experts who believe that potent treatments for COVID-19, as well as vaccines, are needed to end the pandemic.