May 28, 2024 - Health

Pfizer's Paxlovid reward

Illustration of a pill as a stopwatch

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Pfizer has received a priority review voucher from the FDA for its oral COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid.

Why it matters: The drugmaker on Friday was rewarded under a program meant to incentivize the development of medical countermeasures during public health emergencies.

  • Drugmakers could use the voucher to speed up FDA review for another product. They could also sell the voucher to another company hoping to fast-track a drug to market, often netting tens of millions of dollars or more.

Zoom out: Similar vouchers were already awarded to Gilead for COVID treatment remdesivir and to Moderna and BioNTech for their vaccines.

  • The few studies that have examined such voucher programs found they had little effect on drug development, though drugmakers who won vouchers said they were a factor in development decisions, a GAO review found.

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