Thursday 18 August 2022

European drugs agency clears Pfizer’s anticoronavirus medicine

Photo: Odi Busman

The Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency on Thursday said it had given conditional market authorisation to Pfizer’s coronavirus drug, meaning it could soon be used in the Netherlands.

The drug has been shown to reduce both the risk of death and hospital admissions among coronavirus patients who risk becoming seriously ill, such as people who are overweight or have diabetes, the EMA said.

The EMA gave permission for the drug to be used in the EU earlier but had not given it official clearance. The Netherlands opted to wait for that decision.

‘We hope that this drug will contribute to the treatment of people at home,’ said Ton de Boer, head of the Dutch medicines agency. ‘Healthcare providers can prescribe Paxlovid to coronavirus patients who are in an at-risk group and have a large chance of being hospitalized.’

The cost of the drug has not yet been finalised.

The EMA said the safety profile of Paxlovid was favourable and side effects were generally mild. However, ritonavir – one of the two component parts – is known to affect the action of many other medicines, and warnings and advice have been included in Paxlovid’s product information, the EMA said.

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