(Reuters) – The U.S. government agreed to pay Pfizer Inc nearly $2 billion for an additional 3.7 million courses of its COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid, the company said on Tuesday.
The new purchase supplements the 20 million courses previously bought by the United States and delivery is planned by early 2023, Pfizer said in a statement.
The Biden administration previously agreed to pay around $10.6 billion – roughly $530 per treatment course – for the first 20 million courses ordered. The government is paying around the same amount per course under the new contract.
Pfizer, which also sells a COVID-19 vaccine it developed with German partner BioNTech SE, is expected to top $100 billion in revenue this year, more than half of which is expected to come from its COVID business. Before the new contract, analysts had forecast Paxlovid sales would top $22 billion in 2022 and be close to $12 billion next year, according to Refinitiv data.
The U.S. drugmaker said last year that it could produce up to 120 million courses of Paxlovid this year.
As of Nov. 30, Pfizer had shipped almost 37 million courses of Paxlovid to 52 countries around the world, it said in a statement. That includes all 20 million courses previously ordered by the U.S. government.
The two-drug oral treatment is currently available for free in the United States, where more than 9 million courses have been delivered to pharmacies, and patients have used over 6 million courses of the treatment, according to government data.
Last December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Paxlovid for use in people ages 12 and older at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
In Pfizer’s clinical trial, Paxlovid was shown to reduce hospitalizations and death by around 90% for unvaccinated people at risk for serious disease. In another trial, Pfizer was not able to show the treatment was effective in those considered at standard risk, including vaccinated patients.
(Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Leslie Adler and Bill Berkrot)
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