Monday, August 15, 2022
ADVT 
International

WHO calls on Pfizer to make its COVID pill more available

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 10 May, 2022 11:05 AM
  • WHO calls on Pfizer to make its COVID pill more available

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization called on Pfizer to make its COVID-19 treatment more widely available in poorer countries, saying Tuesday that the pharmaceutical company's deal allowing generic producers to make the drug was insufficient.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news briefing that Pfizer's treatment was still too expensive. He noted that most countries in Latin America had no access to Pfizer’s drug, Paxlovid , which has been shown to cut the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization or death by up to 90%.

“We remain concerned that low- and middle-income countries remain unable to access antivirals ,” Tedros said,

The WHO chief warned that the unequal distribution of COVID-19 drugs could ultimately mirror the grossly disproportionate distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

For example, while countries such as Britain have vaccinated more than 70% of their populations, fewer than 16% of people in poor countries have received a single dose.

Pfizer signed an agreement in November with the U.N.-backed Medicines Patent Pool to allow other drugmakers to make generic copies of its pill , for use in 95 countries. Some large countries that suffered devastating COVID-19 outbreaks, like Brazil, were not included.

Tedros said the deal does not go far enough and called for Pfizer to lift its geographic restrictions on where the generic version of Paxlovid might be used, as well as to make the pill less costly for developing countries.

The U.S. paid about $500 for each course of Pfizer’s treatment, which consists of three pills taken twice a day for five days. Its price in developing countries has not yet been confirmed.

WHO’s chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said most of the world's supply of Pfizer’s drug had already been booked by rich countries, similar to how they hoarded the vast majority of last year’s coronavirus vaccines.

She applauded Pfizer’s agreement to let other drugmakers produce its drug, but noted that manufacturing would not start until next year. Swaminathan also appealed to Pfizer to drop its requirement for some developing countries to assume product liability in case there are any problems once it's rolled out.

MORE International ARTICLES

US Vice-President Kamala Harris tests positive for Covid-19

US Vice-President Kamala Harris tests positive for Covid-19

US Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for Covid-19 on undergoing rapid and PCR tests, her spokesperson said. Harris, 57, has not been a close contact to US President Joe Biden or the first lady "due to their respective recent travel schedules," the statement said.

US Vice-President Kamala Harris tests positive for Covid-19

Donald Trump won't join 'boring' Twitter

Donald Trump won't join 'boring' Twitter

"Twitter's become very boring. They've gotten rid of a lot of good voices on Twitter, a lot of their conservative voices," he said. Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat following the Capitol Hill riot on January 6, 2021.

Donald Trump won't join 'boring' Twitter

Beijing begins mass testing of millions of residents after Covid spike

Beijing begins mass testing of millions of residents after Covid spike

The Chaoyang district reported 26 cases over the weekend, the highest number so far in Beijing's latest surge, said the BBC report. All 3.5 million residents in Chaoyang, Beijing's most populous district, will undergo three rounds of mass testing, according to a notice by the city's disease prevention team.

Beijing begins mass testing of millions of residents after Covid spike

Kerala-born teen drowns trying to retrieve football from pond in US

Kerala-born teen drowns trying to retrieve football from pond in US

He was in the final year of high school and had been set to study criminal justice at a local university. On Friday evening, the temperatures were down to about 12 degrees Celsius in New Milford, which is about 35 km from New York City.

Kerala-born teen drowns trying to retrieve football from pond in US

Two students from Telangana killed in US accident

Two students from Telangana killed in US accident

Pavan Swarna (23) of Khammam and his friend Vamshi Krishna Pechetty (23) of Bachupally in Medchal Malkajgiri district were killed in a head-on collision of two cars in Illinois on April 21.

Two students from Telangana killed in US accident

UK's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 96th b'day

UK's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 96th b'day

A BBC report said Britain's longest-lived monarch had travelled by helicopter to her Norfolk estate and is expected to stay in a cottage on the estate particularly liked by her late husband, Prince Philip. The Queen was in Sandringham earlier this year when she marked her accession to the throne in 1952.

UK's Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 96th b'day