Pfizer to supply up to 6 million COVID pill courses for lower income countries

FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Pfizer logo is placed near medicines from the same manufacturer in this illustration

(Reuters) - Pfizer Inc said on Thursday it would supply up to 6 million courses of its COVID-19 antiviral treatment to NGO Global Fund for low- and middle-income countries that seeks to address worldwide disparities in COVID response.

The company said Paxlovid treatment courses will be available for procurement through Global Fund's COVID-19 Response Mechanism to 132 low- and middle-income countries this year, subject to local regulatory clearances.

While Paxlovid is widely available in many rich countries, availability has been severely restricted in poorer ones. Pfizer said the supply agreement is part of its strategy to facilitate equitable access to oral COVID treatments.

The company has made a deal with several generic drugmakers to produce its treatment at a lower price for developing countries.

"This agreement with Global Fund is a critical step that will boost equitable access for high-risk patients in low-and-middle income countries," Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in a statement.

The Global Fund is part of the Access to COVID-19 Accelerator partnership (ACT-A), an effort by governments and non-governmental organizations including the World Health Organization to procure tests, treatments, and vaccines for lower income countries.

(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)