• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Israel is Not Talking to Pfizer about COVID Pill

Nov 6, 2021

The Health Ministry in Israel is yet to begin negotiations with Pfizer about buying its experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19. The US drug-maker said that it was in talks with over 90 countries about the coronavirus medication. The Health Ministry stated that they would establish contact with the company soon to begin discussions about buying the pill. The successful coronavirus vaccine campaign in Israel was primarily because they managed to clinch the first contracts with Pfizer for massive supplies of the vaccine. However, with the high vaccination rates in the country, it remains unclear as to how urgent the need for this new COVID medication may be.

Nachman Ash, the director-general of the Health Ministry, spoke early on Sunday morning and said that while the pill sounds ‘promising’, they still needed to learn about its side effects, efficacy and costs. He added that they would make a decision about it after the complete results of the trial are published. He also predicted that their good relationship with Pfizer would bring the drug into the country quickly. On Friday, Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, said that a number of countries had already signed contracts for the pill. The chief executive disclosed that they were having discussions with 90 countries over the world and some of them had already signed contracts. 

Pfizer Inc. also revealed that their experimental antiviral pill can cut down the rates of death and hospitalization by almost 90%. The drug-maker has also joined the race of bringing the first medication that’s easy-to-use against COVID-19 in the global market. Currently, all the treatments that exist for the coronavirus require an injection or an IV. The Food and Drug Administration is already reviewing the pill introduced by competitor Merick after it showed strong results initially. The United Kingdom okayed it on Thursday, becoming the first country to do so.

As per Pfizer, it would ask the FDA and other international regulators to authorize the COVID-19 medication as quickly as possible, after the strength of its results pushed independent experts to recommend halting their study. It is possible that the FDA may come to a decision after Pfizer’s application within months or even weeks. Researchers all over the world have been working on developing a pill for the coronavirus that people can take at home to speed recovery, ease symptoms and reduce the burden on doctors and hospitals. 

Preliminary results of Pfizer’s study, which was based on 775 adults, showed that there was an 89% reduction in the rate of death and hospitalization in a month. Less than 1% of the patients taking the pill had to be hospitalized, but there were no deaths. In the comparison group, seven people died and 7% people had to be hospitalized. The participants in the study were unvaccinated and were suffering from mild to moderate cases of COVID-19. They were considered at high risk of hospitalization because of their health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. After three to five days of symptoms, treatment was initiated and went on for five days. 

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