Pfizer on Tuesday announced an agreement allowing other companies to make its potential coronavirus antiviral pill in poorer countries and sell them royalty free. The move advances what Pfizer describes as its "comprehensive strategy to work toward equita

Pfizer on Tuesday announced an agreement allowing other companies to make its potential coronavirus antiviral pill in poorer countries and sell them royalty free. The move advances what Pfizer describes as its "comprehensive strategy to work toward equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments for all people, particularly those living in the poorest parts of the world."

Pfizer on Tuesday announced an agreement allowing other companies to make its potential coronavirus antiviral pill in poorer countries and sell them royalty free. The move advances what Pfizer describes as its “comprehensive strategy to work toward equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments for all people, particularly those living in the poorest parts of the world.”

Pfizer signed the licensing agreement with the United Nations-backed organization Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) for its “antiviral treatment candidate.”

According to Pfizer:

The agreement will enable MPP to facilitate additional production and distribution of the investigational antiviral, pending regulatory authorization or approval, by granting sub-licenses to qualified generic medicine manufacturers, with the goal of facilitating greater access to the global population.

The agreement covers 95 countries, affecting 53 percent of the world’s population. That includes “all low and lower-middle-income countries and some upper-middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as countries that have transitioned from lower-middle to upper-middle-income status in the past five years,” according to the press release.

Under the agreement, Pfizer will not receive royalties on sales of the drug in poorer countries and “will further waive royalties on sales in all countries covered by the agreement while COVID-19 remains classified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization.”

Pfizer/BioNTech data released Wednesday suggests a third dose of the vaccine "strongly boosts" protection against the variant. https://t.co/LFqNm5OzIG

— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) August 1, 2021

“We believe oral antiviral treatments can play a vital role in reducing the severity of COVID-19 infections, decreasing the strain on our healthcare systems and saving lives,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said in a statement.

“We must work to ensure that all people – regardless of where they live or their circumstances – have access to these breakthroughs, and we are pleased to be able to work with MPP to further our commitment to equity,” he added.

Charles Gore, Executive Director of MPP, said thy licensing agreement is important because “if authorized or approved, this oral drug is particularly well-suited for low and middle-income countries and could play a critical role in saving lives, contributing to global efforts to fight the current pandemic.”

The announcement comes after weeks of criticism from officials at the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), who have urged the developed world to halt on coronavirus booster shots until more vaccines are distributed to the least developed nations.

Hannah Bleau