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 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, talking on the JPMorgan Healthcare Convention in San Francisco, Bourla mentioned, “We’re not in discussions. We have already got an settlement for native manufacture of Paxlovid in China. So now we have an area accomplice who will make Paxlovid for us, after which we’ll promote it to the Chinese language market.”

Bourla mentioned the corporate has shipped 1000’s of remedy programs in 2022 to China, and up to now two weeks, has elevated that to the thousands and thousands.

On Sunday, China’s Well being Care Safety Administration (NHSA) mentioned the nation wouldn’t embody Paxlovid in an replace to the record of medication lined by primary medical insurance coverage, 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 underneath momentary measures till the tip of March.

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

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

Infections have surged since China moved away from its strict “zero COVID” coverage final month, resulting in shortages of flu and COVID medication.

A field of Paxlovid, which is used for one course of remedy, is altering palms for as a lot as 50,000 yuan ($7,313), in response to native media stories and social media posts, greater than 20 occasions the unique value of about 2,000 yuan.

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

Some Chinese language media retailers reported that Pfizer lowered the value 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 decreased its value past the 1,890 yuan it at present costs Chinese language hospitals.

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

Chinese language state media International Instances accused Pfizer Inc of making an attempt to revenue from China’s coronavirus 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 that (the epidemic in China), why does not Pfizer abandon 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 enable it to start manufacturing within the first half of the yr, forward of its inside year-end estimates.

(Reporting by Michael Ehrman in New York, Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Sophie Yu in Beijing). Enhancing by Sandra Mahler, Christopher Cushing, and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our requirements: Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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