Pfizer CEO rules out generic COVID drug Paxlovid for China

Jan. 9 (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) It isn’t in talks with Chinese language authorities to license a generic model of its COVID-19 remedy Paxlovid to be used there, CEO Albert Bourla mentioned Monday, however it’s in discussions concerning the value of the branded product.

Reuters reported on Friday that China is in talks with Pfizer Inc to safe a license permitting native drug corporations to fabricate and distribute a generic model of the US firm’s antiviral drug Paxlovid in China.

Referring to this report, Bourla, talking on the JP Morgan healthcare convention in San Francisco, mentioned, “We’re not in discussions. We have already got an settlement for native manufacture of Paxlovid in China. So we’ve an area companion who will make Paxlovid for us after which we’ll promote it to the Chinese language market.”

Pfizer has a licensing settlement with the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) that permits 35 drug corporations all over the world to make low-cost variations of Paxlovid and supply the remedy in 95 poor international locations.

This license doesn’t permit them to promote the generic drug baxlovid in China, the place infections have spiked since December, resulting in extreme shortages of influenza and coronavirus medicines.

A field of Paxlovid, which is used for one course of remedy, has been promoting for as a lot as 50,000 yuan ($7,313), in response to native media reviews and social media posts, in opposition to the unique value of round 2,000 yuan.

Bourla mentioned the corporate has shipped hundreds of remedy programs in 2022 to China, and prior to now two weeks, has elevated that to the tens of millions.

On Sunday, China’s Well being Care Safety Administration (NHSA) mentioned the nation wouldn’t embody Paxlovid in an replace to the checklist of medication lined by fundamental medical insurance policy, because the US firm quoted a excessive value for the COVID-19 drug.

The drug is at present lined by China’s complete medical health insurance plan beneath momentary measures till the tip of March.

Bourla mentioned talks with China about future pricing of the remedy stalled after China demanded a cheaper price than Pfizer fees most lower-middle-income international locations.

“They’re the second largest economic system on the earth and I do not assume they need to pay lower than El Salvador,” Bourla mentioned.

The failure of talks to incorporate Pfizer within the checklist of medication lined by fundamental state medical health insurance sparked heated discussions on Chinese language social media on Monday.

Some Chinese language media retailers reported that Pfizer lowered the worth of Paxlovid to 600 yuan in negotiations, sparking a wave of criticism and questions on social media as to why Chinese language regulators wouldn’t settle for that value.

A separate report by monetary journal Caixin on Monday cited unnamed sources as saying that Pfizer has not considerably diminished its value past the 1,890 yuan it at present fees Chinese language hospitals.

Pfizer declined to touch upon Chinese language media reviews concerning the value it quoted throughout the negotiations. The NHSA didn’t instantly reply to a Reuters request for touch upon the negotiations.

Chinese language state media World Instances accused Pfizer of making an attempt to revenue from China’s Covid battle in an opinion piece on Monday.

It’s no secret, she mentioned, that the US capitalist forces have already amassed nice wealth from the world by promoting vaccines and medicines, and the US authorities has been coordinating on a regular basis. There isn’t any such factor as human proper, however monopoly. .

“In the event that they care about it (the epidemic in China), why would not Pfizer hand over its pursuit of revenue and cooperate with China extra sincerely?”

Delisting won’t have an effect on the corporate’s enterprise there till April, Bourla mentioned, and the corporate could find yourself promoting solely to the personal market in China.

Pfizer signed a deal in August with Chinese language drugmaker Zhejiang Huahai (600521.SS) To provide Paxlovid in mainland China just for sufferers there.

Bourla mentioned manufacturing is trending up in China and progress has been made that might permit it to start manufacturing within the first half of the yr, forward of its inner year-end estimates.

(Reporting by Michael Ehrman in New York, Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Sophie Yu in Beijing). Modifying by Myung Kim, Muralikumar Anantharaman and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our requirements: Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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