Pfizer says antiviral COVID-19 pill cuts risk of severe disease by 89% in high-risk adults – CBC

Drugmaker says it will ask U.S. FDA to authorize the pill

Nov 05, 2021

Pfizer Inc. said Friday that its experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90 per cent in high-risk adults, as the drugmaker joins the race to bring the first easy-to-use medication against the coronavirus to the U.S. market.

Currently all COVID-19 treatments used in the U.S. require an IV or injection. Competitor Merck’s COVID-19 pill is already under review at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after showing strong initial results, and on Thursday the United Kingdom became the first country to OK it.

Pfizer said it will ask the FDA and international regulators to authorize its pill as soon as possible, after independent experts recommended halting the company’s study based on the strength of its results. Once Pfizer applies, the FDA could make a decision within weeks or months. If authorized, the company would sell the drug under the brand name Paxlovid.

At a briefing on Friday looking at COVID-19 modelling in Canada, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters that the Pfizer antiviral product and the Merck pill recently authorized for use in the U.K. are under review at Health Canada.

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