Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral drug used to treat coronavirus disease, is seen in this Oct. 7, 2022 image.

Wolfgang Rattay | Reuters

Pfizer will price a five-day course of its Covid antiviral drug Paxlovid at $1,390 when it begins bringing it to the commercial market later this year.

A company spokesman confirmed the price on Wednesday, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. That list price, which is before rebates and other rebates for insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, is more than double the $529 the federal government paid for Paxlovid.

The government has purchased and distributed Paxlovid to the public for free since December 2021, when the FDA first approved the treatment. However, starting in 2024, Pfizer will sell Paxlovid directly to health insurers as demand for Covid vaccines and treatments declines nationwide.

Doctors, health experts and patient advocates have expressed concerns that a higher price would limit access to the life-saving treatment, which has been proven to reduce the risk of serious illness and death from Covid in vulnerable patients such as those with diabetes or cardiovascular diseases or a weakened immune system.

But health insurers are likely to pay much less than the nearly $1,400 list price for Paxlovid, meaning patients will likely face little or no out-of-pocket costs. Pfizer also noted that it is working with payers to lower patient co-payments.

Pfizer plans to subsidize co-payments for those with commercial insurance until at least 2028.

“Pfizer’s goal, as always, is to ensure broad and equitable access to our medicines. “We are working diligently with payers to achieve the best possible formulation placement for PAXLOVID, resulting in low OOP costs for patients,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC.

On Friday, the company also said revenue from Paxlovid was expected to be $7 billion lower than previously expected, due in part to the return of doses marked for emergency use by the federal government.

Overall, Pfizer now expects revenue of $58 billion to $61 billion in 2023, down from its previous forecast of $67 billion to $70 billion. Pfizer said it lowered its sales forecast “solely due to its Covid products.”

—CNBC’s Angelica Peebles contributed to this report.

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