U.S. to buy 10 million doses of Pfizer antiviral COVID-19 drug, pending FDA approval

The pills are expected to be delivered toward the end of the year, the White House said.

Updated: November 18, 2021 - 4:00pm

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The U.S. government will purchase from Pfizer 10 million pills that help fight COVID-19, the pharmaceutical company announced on Thursday. 

According to the Washington Examiner, the pharmaceutical company signed an agreement with the U.S. outlining its purchase of the antiviral drug Paxlovid, in exchange for $5 billion.

The agreement is pending the Food and Drug Administration approving Paxlovid for the treatment of COVID-19. 

"We were thrilled with the recent results of our [testing], which showed overwhelming efficacy of Paxlovid in reducing the risk of hospitalization among high-risk patients treated within three days of symptom onset by almost 90% and with no deaths, and are pleased the U.S. government recognizes this potential," said the CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla in a press release.

The pills are expected to be delivered toward the end of the year, the White House said in a statement.  

"This is positive news. This treatment could prove to be another critical tool in our arsenal that will accelerate our path out of the pandemic," said President Biden when asked about the antiviral drug. "But vaccines remain our strongest tool. With the authorization of vaccines for children aged 5 – 11 years old, 95% of Americans are now eligible to be vaccinated. My message continues to be: get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe, free, and easily available. Don't wait. Get vaccinated today."

Pfizer requested emergency authorization from the FDA on Tuesday following the publication of its recent study of Paxlovid.

Currently, the treatment costs around $529 per person, according to the New York Post.

According to Pfizer's data, the pill can reduce hospitalization by nearly 90% if a person takes the pill within 72 hours of experiencing symptoms.

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