Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) has donated 100,000 doses of its antiviral treatment Paxlovid for COVID-19 to a new group that aims to improve access to the drug in low- and middle-income countries.
The group created by organizations including Duke University and the Clinton Healthcare Access Initiative said it is working with health ministries in 10 countries to establish national test-and-treat programs.
It is aiming for high-risk patients in some of the countries to start treatment by the end of this month, it added in a statement on Wednesday.
While Paxlovid is widely available in many rich countries, access to the medicine has been severely restricted in poorer ones, reflecting disparities in the global response to COVID-19.
Pfizer has already reached an agreement with several generic drugmakers to produce its treatment at a lower price for low- and middle-income countries. It is expected to sell its versions of the drug to the group when its products are approved, which will likely be in the coming months.
Before that, Pfizer’s donation facilitates what is actually a pilot program in countries that already have some testing infrastructure, such as Nigeria, Laos, Zimbabwe and Zambia.