Guyana is open to the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 pill Paxlovid, once it receives approval, and private sector pharmaceutical companies could possibly manufacture it here.
Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony said Pfizer has signed an agreement with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) patent production office allowing countries to use its technology to manufacture the pill.
“We don’t have manufacturing capacity in the public sector for pharmaceuticals, but here in Guyana there are private companies that would have the manufacturing capabilities, so if those companies work with the WHO patent office and are able to bring that particular medicine to Guyana, it is something that we will want to procure,” he said on Thursday.
However, he noted that even if the drug is not produced locally, there is a high likelihood that the cost will be affordable.
“If that does not happen, then certainly with the number of countries now that are going to be producing this medication, that we are certain that we will be able to get the medicine at an affordable price once production has started, so it is something that we are looking at,” the Health Minister said.
He noted that the efficacy of the medication was reviewed and it seemed to be working “quite well.”
“Therefore, as soon as it’s made available and it’s licensed, then that’s something that we would want to look at, and it’s certainly a medication that we would want to add to the meds that we already have been using to treat COVID-19,” Dr Anthony said.
He said the process is not complete and still has to go through the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “so they have to present the data, it has to be reviewed and once its reviewed and they have accepted it, then they will give it emergency use authorisation, so that has not been done as yet.”
“I know they have promised to submit the data soon, so once that process is completed, I guess we will have better information being available.”
Earlier this week, Pfizer Inc, announced that it is seeking U.S. authorisation of its experimental antiviral COVID-19 pill that could cut the chance of hospitalisation and death by 89 per cent.
The New York Times reported that, under the agreement, Pfizer will grant a royalty-free license for the pill to the Medicines Patent Pool, a non-profit backed by the United Nations, in a deal that will allow manufacturers to take out a sublicense. They will receive Pfizer’s formula for the drug, and be able to sell it for use in 95 developing countries.