FDA: “No evidence” second Pfizer COVID pill stops repeat symptoms, contradicting CEO
Why it matters: The FDA’s comments contradict Pfizer chief executive officer Albert Bourla, who said patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms after their first treatment can take more of the pill.
What they’re saying: "There is no evidence of benefit at this time for a longer course of treatment or repeating a treatment course of Paxlovid," John Farley, director of the Office of Infectious Diseases in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.
- Farley reiterated that Paxlovid "reduces the risk of hospitalization and death for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 at high risk of disease progression" and is "expected to be effective against the Omicron variant."
Flashback: Bourla told Bloomberg that Paxlovid "reduces the viral load" but doesn’t always clear the coronavirus out of people’s systems.
- When that happens, people should take more of the drug, he said.
The bigger picture: Paxlovid, which received emergency use authorization from the FDA in December, has been shown to reduce hospitalization risks for vulnerable adults who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms.
- U.S. government researchers plan to research how and why COVID-19 patients relapse after taking the drug, Bloomberg reports.