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Amid considerable anticipation over its Covid-19 pill, Pfizer (PFE) reached a licensing agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool, which in turn can now strike deals with other manufacturers to provide generic versions of the drug to 95 low and middle-income countries.

The agreement follows a similar arrangement with Merck (MRK) concerning its own antiviral pill for combating the coronavirus. Notably, this also marks only the second time that a pharmaceutical company has struck a licensing deal with the Medicines Patent Pool — a public health organization backed by the United Nations — to widen access to a Covid-19 medical product.


The deal will make it possible for generic versions to become available in 53% of the global population, including all low and lower-middle-income countries, and some upper-middle-income countries, in sub-Sarahan Africa. For its part, Pfizer will not receive royalties on sales in low-income countries and will waive sales royalties in all countries covered by the agreement while Covid-19 is classified as a public health emergency (and here is the sub-licensing document).

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