The U.S. has secured “millions of doses” of Pfizer’s antiviral pill Paxlovid to treat Covid-19 pending FDA authorization, President Joe Biden said Friday, a few hours after the drugmaker announced that its drug reduced the risk of hospitalization or death due to the disease by 89%.
The U.S. has “already secured millions of doses” of Paxlovid for when it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and that it would be “another tool in our toolbox” for the country’s efforts to combat Covid-19,” Biden said.
On Friday morning, Pfizer said its drug was 89% effective in cutting down hospitalization or death in patients at high risk who took the drug within three days of symptom onset.
Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said on CNBC’s Squawk Box that the company will submit trial data to the FDA for regulatory approval “before Thanksgiving holiday.”
Last month, the U.K. government said it had secured 250,000 courses of Pfizer’s oral pill.
The update on Pfizer’s antiviral pill came a day after the U.K. authorized Merck’s antiviral pill molnupiravir to treat Covid. The U.S. has committed to buying 1.7 million courses of molnupiravir if it gets approved by the FDA for emergency use. Meanwhile, during his visit to Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Friday, Biden said: “The vaccines are safe.” The Biden administration has been pushing to get people vaccinated as part of its efforts to contain the virus, including with federal vaccine-or-test mandates that have been met with strong opposition in GOP-led states and from Americans who are uncomfortable with getting vaccinated.
Pfizer’s promising study results for its pill sent Merck’s shares falling by 9%, while Pfizer’s shares were up 7.6% as of noon Friday. Vaccine makers took a hit from Pfizer’s announcement: shares of Moderna plummeted 22.6%, BioNTech was down 19%, and Novavax dropped 15% at that time. Shares of Regeneron, which produces a Covid therapy, also fell 6%.