Pfizer is planning to set the price for a five-day course of its COVID-19 antiviral drug, Paxlovid, at $1,390 when the company transitions it to the commercial market later this year.
This price, confirmed by a company spokesperson and initially reported by The Wall Street Journal, is the list price, which does not account for rebates and other discounts provided to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers. It represents a significant increase from the $529 the federal government paid for Paxlovid.
Up until now, the government has been supplying Paxlovid to the public for free since December 2021, following FDA authorization. However, starting in 2024, Pfizer will directly sell Paxlovid to health insurers. This shift coincides with a decline in demand for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments nationwide.
Concerns have been raised by doctors, health experts, and patient advocates about the potential impact of a higher price on access to this life-saving treatment. Paxlovid has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19, particularly among vulnerable patients with conditions like diabetes, heart issues, or compromised immune systems.
While the list price for Paxlovid is nearly $1,400, health insurance plans are likely to negotiate significantly lower prices, resulting in minimal or no out-of-pocket expenses for patients. Pfizer has also indicated its commitment to working with payers to reduce copays for patients.