HHS, Pfizer, Reach Agreement to Ensure Access to Paxlovid

October 16, 2023 by Dan McCue
HHS, Pfizer, Reach Agreement to Ensure Access to Paxlovid
FILE - The anti-viral drug Paxlovid is displayed in New York, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Stephanie Nano, File)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that it has reached an agreement with Pfizer to ensure continued patient access to the antiviral Paxlovid as it prepares to transition the COVID treatment to the commercial market.

“This agreement builds on HHS and Pfizer’s strong partnership over the last three years that enabled the development, manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics at a record pace,” the department said in a written statement.

“HSS has consistently expressed a shared interest in jointly transitioning Paxlovid to the commercial market while ensuring that the United States taxpayer continues to receive fair and reasonable benefit from the [department’s] procurement of this product,” the statement continued.

Paxlovid was first authorized to treat COVID-19 in December 2021 and since then it has been distributed for free by the government. The drug’s transition to the commercial market is set to begin in November.

Under the terms of the agreement, individuals on Medicare, Medicaid and those who are uninsured will continue to be able to access HHS-procured Paxlovid for free through the end of 2024 via a patient assistance program. 

From 2025 to 2028, Pfizer will continue to run a patient assistance program for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured with HHS-procured Paxlovid. In parallel, Pfizer will operate a copay assistance program for individuals with commercial insurance through 2028.

Pfizer has agreed to continue to “refresh” the government’s inventory of Paxlovid through 2028, to make sure none of its supply is expired and that the department has the latest formulation. 

In addition, Pfizer will provide HHS with a stockpile of an additional 1 million treatment courses to ensure preparedness for future COVID-19 surges. 

Finally, to ensure a smooth and predictable transition to the commercial market over the next few months, Paxlovid will remain available for ordering from HHS through Dec. 15.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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