Pfizer says its experimental COVID-19 pill cut hospital, death risk by 90%

Posted at 7:02 AM, Nov 05, 2021

WASHINGTON — Pfizer says its experimental pill for COVID-19 cut rates of hospitalization by nearly 90% among patients with mild-to-moderate infections.

The company announced Friday it would soon ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and international regulators to authorize its pill, which it calls Paxlovid.

In Pfizer's press release, the company said that in Phase 2 and 3 trials, patients took the pill twice a day for five days. In addition to lowering the risk for hospitalization, no patients who took the drug died, while 10 people who received a placebo drug died.

"Today's news is a real game-changer in the global efforts to halt the devastation of this pandemic," Albert Bourla, Pfizer's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "...given the continued global impact of COVID-19, we have remained laser-focused on the science and fulfilling our responsibility to help healthcare systems and institutions around the world while ensuring equitable and broad access to people everywhere."

A similar pill from competitor Merck is currently under FDA review and was cleared Thursday by U.K. regulators.

Drugmakers around the world have been racing to develop an easy-to-use pill to blunt the effects of COVID-19.

All therapies currently authorized in the U.S. require an IV or injection.