Localizing drug production a win-win solution
Albert Bourla, CEO of US-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer, reportedly said at a conference on Monday that they had signed agreements with a Chinese enterprise for localized production of the anti-COVID-19 drug Paxlovid.
The announcement came just one day after the National Healthcare and Security Administration officially finalized the 2022 national healthcare list, which Paxlovid failed to enter because of its very high price. There is no information on the price that was quoted and the price the NHSA expected, but the fact that the drug failed to make it to the list implies there was an unbridgeable gap, big or small.
The announcement on Monday further restores hope that Chinese patients, like their counterparts in the United States and elsewhere, have convenient, protected access to effective drugs in their fight against COVID-19. Even though Paxlovid failed to make it to the national healthcare security list, China, Chinese companies and Pfizer are working to ensure stable supply of drugs for Chinese patients.
Apart from the possibility of producing Paxlovid in China, the NHSA has temporarily included the drug in its healthcare security list and will pay for it until March 31, by which time infections will have peaked in most cities. In other words, Paxlovid will be available when Chinese people are most in need of it.
Azvudine, developed by a domestic company, and Qingfei Paidu granules, a widely used traditional Chinese medicine, have both made it to the list. So, if Paxlovid is too expensive for some families to afford in the absence of support from the national medical security fund after March 31, Chinese patients will still have two other drugs to choose from.