A new reason for the Ministry of Health and Pfizer to authorize the distribution of PAXLOVID™ generics in Chile, amid growing international concern about the havoc caused by new variants of COVID-19 in China.
The generic version of PAXLOVID™ from Hetero Laboratory has been endorsed by the WHO whilst neither the Ministry of Health nor Pfizer have authorized the entry of generics to Chile to face the pandemic. The news was made public on Tuesday, December 27th on the Reuters website where it was made public that Hetero, an important Indian laboratory, confirmed that its generic version of the drug PAXLOVID™ (antiviral treatment for COVID-19 developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer) was included in the pre-qualification list of the World Health Organization (WHO). This WHO list serves as a reference for the acquisition of drugs by developing countries.
Reuters also reported that Hetero entered into a licensing agreement with the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to manufacture and sell the generic version of the drug in low- and middle-income countries.
The drug, PAXLOVID™, is composed of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, which together potentially help patients avoid severe cases of the disease that can lead to hospitalization and death. In April of this year, the World Health Organization made a strong recommendation for its use in patients with mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 who are at high risk of hospital admission, and described it as the best therapeutic option to date in high-risk patients. These advances in Access to Drugs contrast with the current scenario in Chile where neither the Ministry of Health nor Pfizer have authorized the entry of generics, which prevents the acquisition of the drug at a reasonable price.
This is why NGO Innovarte (Chile), AIS (Peru) and other non-profit organizations are asking Pfizer to end its monopoly on the antiviral drug PAXLOVID™ and to allow the distribution of generic drugs throughout Latin America.