Malta intends to purchase Pfizer’s new antiviral COVID-19 pill Paxlovid once it has been completely approved by the European Medicines Agency.
A spokesperson for the Health Ministry confirmed with Lovin Malta that the pill, which has been described as a “game-changer” in the fight against the virus, will be purchased through the EU Joint Procurement action group.
“Thus it will be available in Malta in the same period as the rest of the EU member states,” the spokesperson said.
Pfizer has said that Paxlovid is 89% effective in preventing hospitalisation and deaths in high-risk patients, and studies have shown it is effective against the new Omicron variant.
This would mean it surpasses the efficacy of Merck & Co Inc’s pill molnupiravir, which has been shown to halve the chances of death and hospitalisation for high-risk COVID-19 patients.
Paxlovid was recently authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Although the European Medicines Agency, the EU’s drug regulator, has yet to officially approve the pill, it informed member states last month that they can start using it early.
“The Agency’s advice can now be used to support national recommendations on the possible use of the medicine before marketing authorisation,” the EMA said in a statement.
It said that patients at risk of suffering severe forms of COVID-19 should start the five-day course of Paxlovid as soon as possible after diagnosis or within five days of symptom onset, but not when supplemental oxygen is already required.
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