TAIPEI, Taiwan ( Associated Press) – Chinese health officials have refused to put a Pfizer-developed COVID-19 drug on a national reimbursement list that would have allowed patients to get it at a cheaper cost nationwide, claiming Turns out it was too expensive.
Paxlovid, an oral drug developed by New York-based drugmaker Pfizer, has been in high demand in China since the country began to ease its “zero COVID” restrictions and a wave of infections hit the country. Although it is supposed to be prescribed by doctors, this has not stopped people from buying it on their own through any means including buying Indian generic versions of the drug over the internet, local media reports.
Health authorities can take advantage of bulk purchases to lower prices in negotiations with pharmaceuticals, which in turn can provide a steady source of revenue. A drug must be included in the reimbursement list to be covered by the National Insurance System. China will add two more COVID-19 drugs, the Chinese-made antiviral azavudine and the Chinese herbal medicine mixture Qingfei Pedu Granules, the National Health Security Administration said in a statement on Sunday.
Paxlovid will continue to be available for patients who can afford it. Paxlovid and azvudine are prescription drugs used to prevent mild cases of COVID-19 from becoming severe.
Although the government has barred the import of vaccines not made in China, such as Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine, in February 2022 it approved the import of a pill developed by the company.
The country is dealing with a major surge in coronavirus cases, especially in big cities like Beijing and Chengdu. Sunday marked the first day in nearly three years that visitors to China no longer had to quarantine.