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Pfizer, US sign $5.29 billion deal for experimental anti-COVID pill

This image provided by Pfizer shows its anti-COVID pills. (Pfizer via AP)
This image provided by Pfizer shows its anti-COVID pills. (Pfizer via AP)

The US government will pay drugmaker Pfizer $5.29 billion for 10 million treatment courses of its potential COVID-19 treatment if regulators authorize it, the nation’s largest purchase agreement yet for a coronavirus therapy.

Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday to authorize emergency use of the experimental pill, which has been shown to significantly cut the rate of hospitalizations and deaths among people with coronavirus infections.

The FDA is already reviewing a competing pill from Merck and will hold a public meeting on it later this month.

The price for Pfizer’s potential treatment amounts to about $529 per course. The US has already agreed to pay roughly $700 per course of Merck’s drug for about 3.1 million treatments.

Pfizer says today the price being paid by the US government reflects the high number of treatment courses purchased through 2022.

The drugmaker says it also has started rolling submissions for approval in several other countries and there are advanced purchase agreements with other governments as well.

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