The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) rebuked pharmaceutical giant Pfizer today for announcing that it plans to charge $1,400 for a five-day course of the COVID-19 antiviral drug Paxlovid. During the pandemic, the U.S. government only paid $529 for the same drug.
“This is yet another example of rampant drug profiteering off the backs of sick people by Big Pharma. 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,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “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.”
Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Gilead’s Remdesivir are particularly beneficial for people at a higher risk of developing complications from a COVID-19 infection. These patients are already likely to face higher treatment costs due to hospitalizations and prolonged treatment and recovery periods. The exorbitant prices of these drugs put further strain on the personal finances of affected people and healthcare systems, which are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic.