US to buy 10M courses of Pfizer COVID-19 pill

The Biden administration announced Thursday that it has reached a deal to buy 10 million courses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment, in a move that officials hope will help hasten the end of the pandemic.

The $5.29 billion deal will allow for the first deliveries of the pills to be made this year, with the order concluding next year.

Pfizer’s pill, known as Paxlovid, has been shown to be very promising in trials, reducing the risk of hospitalization or death by 89 percent.

Significance: Experts say that once the pill is available, it will help end the crisis phase of the pandemic, given that in addition to vaccines, it will help lower the risk from COVID-19 and make it more manageable.

“This promising treatment could help accelerate our path out of this pandemic by offering another life-saving tool for people who get sick with COVID-19,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

What’s next: The drug still needs to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration before it can be used. Pfizer applied for authorization earlier this week.

The company also announced a deal this week to share the formula for the pill to allow low-income countries to make it.