After Pfizer announced plans to more than double the cost of its COVID drug treatment, Paxlovid, for the next year, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has criticized the U.S. pharmaceutical company for causing "patient suffering."
In a statement released over the weekend, the California-based advocacy group, which has a history of publicly criticizing pharmaceutical companies, notably Gilead, has now turned its attention to Pfizer.
Pfizer, based in New York, is currently experiencing a significant drop in COVID revenue, which has prompted cost-cutting measures across its business. Earlier this month, the company announced that it will be raising the price of its antiviral treatment, Paxlovid, to $1,390 per five-day course.
This change will take effect in January when the drug becomes available for commercial sale. Under the original government contract, Paxlovid cost the U.S. government just $530 per course, and U.S. citizens received it for free.
“This is yet another example of rampant drug profiteering off the backs of sick people by Big Pharma,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein in a release.
“The same drug, with the same efficacy, will suddenly cost nearly three times as much when it reaches the commercial market. Why? So that Pfizer can squeeze as much money out of health plans and the pockets of the uninsured as possible for its shareholders and executives.
“Greedy Pfizer is in good company—Gilead charges $3,429 for its five-day COVID-19 treatment. We must prioritize public health and equity over corporate profits. Putting profits before people’s lives and health is not only immoral, it leaves the entire world in danger of another pandemic disaster.”
There is, however, a major declining demand for Paxlovid, with the U.S. government set to return roughly 7.9 million courses of treatment to the company in a “non-cash transaction,” Pfizer said in October.
In exchange, the U.S. will receive credit for future updated versions of Paxlovid, which will be provided free to Medicare and Medicaid patients and to the uninsured through an assistance program, the company added.