China Meheco Group recently signed an agreement with Pfizer to import and distribute the US drugmaker’s oral COVID-19 treatment Paxlovid in mainland China, as the country braces for a surge in COVID patients after scaling back its “zero COVID” policy.
The agreement is valid between 14th December and 30th November, 2023, China Meheco said in a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange.
Pfizer signed a deal in August for Chinese drugmaker Zhejiang Huahai to produce Paxlovid in mainland China solely for patients there.
Three years into the pandemic, China began pivoting away from its signature “zero COVID” policy just this month, after protests against the economically-damaging curbs that had been championed by President Xi Jinping.
Earlier in the week, a Chinese healthcare platform started selling Paxlovid in what appeared to be the first retail sale of the drug in the country.
The two-drug oral treatment sold out just over half an hour after the listing was reported in the media, the platform’s customer service said, underscoring surging demand for COVID and flu medicines in China.
Pfizer last year said it could produce up to 120 million courses of Paxlovid this year. As of 30th November, the company had shipped almost 37 million courses of Paxlovid to 52 countries around the world, according to a company statement.
Edits by EP News Bureau