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News / NZ secures new Pfizer COVID-19 medicine

NZ secures new Pfizer COVID-19 medicine

NZ secures new Pfizer COVID-19 medicine

Posted December 06, 2021

Pharmac has negotiated an agreement with the supplier Pfizer for its promising new oral antiviral treatment to treat COVID-19.

After making a prepurchase of antiviral medicine molnupiravir in October, Pharmac has secured 60,000 courses of another antiviral medicine which, like molnupiravir, can be taken as a tablet and used to stop people with mild symptoms becoming very sick.

Both drugs are still subject to approval by Medsafe, but trials look promising.

Molnupiravir works by introducing copying errors during replication, which means you are less likely to get a fully functioning virus.

Pfizer is reporting that interim results from its clinical trial for the new drug were promising for those who were treated within three days of symptom onset. The results showed that the treatment reduced the risk of hospitalisation by 89 per cent for adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 at high risk of progressing to severe illness.

The antiviral drug, which does not yet have a brand name in New Zealand, also inhibits replication.

The Pfizer anti-viral is expected to be delivered to New Zealand in April, 2022, once approved by MedSafe. Other COVID-19 medicines secured by Pharmac are baricitinib, remdesivir, tocilizumab, and Ronapreve.

Money for all six medicines comes from the Government’s COVID-19 fund.

Photo: Pharmac