Pfizer’s Paxlovid contract with the government has some surprises : Shots

A lab technician at a Pfizer factory in Germany inspects Paxlovid tablets as they move through the manufacturing process.


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A lab technician at a Pfizer factory in Germany inspects Paxlovid tablets as they move through the manufacturing process.


The United States is spending about $530 for each 5-day course of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill, Paxlovid. But the contract for the first 10 million doses would allow the government to get a lower price if one of a handful of other wealthy countries gets a better deal on the drug.

It’s part of a purchase agreement that seems to be more favorable to the federal government overall compared to the COVID-19 vaccine contracts, says Robin Feldman, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, who focuses on the pharmaceutical industry and drug policy.

“I think this contract reflects a change in the national mood across time,” she says. “So with vaccines and some treatments on the shelves, the nation is less panicked. U.S. government officials feel less backed into a corner, more able to negotiate. “

The contract includes a buyback clause, meaning that in the event that Paxlovid’s emergency use authorization needs to be withdrawn, Pfizer would buy back unexpired treatment courses from the federal government.

Federal government gets a price match guarantee

The contract also has something called most favored nation pricing. It’s kind of like getting a product at a store with a price match guarantee, like Target or Best Buy. If one of six other wealthy countries, such as Japan or Germany, gets a lower price for Paxlovid, the U.S. can push the company for the same price.

“Getting a most favored nation clause is great for a buyer,” Feldman says. “Because a buyer can make an early deal, secure a product flow, and not have to worry that they’re being fleeced on price. Because the price may go down across time.”

(“Most favored nation” might also sound familiar because the Trump administration proposed testing it out to gradually lower a few dozen drug prices in Medicare Part B over seven years. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid later rescinded the plan, citing concerns about access issues and the COVID-19 pandemic.)

NPR obtained the Paxlovid contract after filing a public records request.

James Love, director of global public interest advocacy group Knowledge Ecology International, was shocked to see this price clause in the Paxlovid contract obtained by NPR. He says the government often can’t even get this kind of clause when it’s paid for the research that went into a drug.

“Here they go like, ‘Well, we didn’t even pay for the R&D, but we still want the reference price,'” he says. “And they got it.”

In contrast, Pfizer’s vaccine contract explicitly says its price per dose – around $20 – cannot be used as a reference price, allowing the company to charge more money later: “This price shall not serve as the basis for

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Gov. Wolf Celebrates Federal No Surprises Act and Amplified Shopper Protections from Surprising Professional medical Expenses

Governor Tom Wolf these days was joined by the Pennsylvania Insurance coverage Department (PID), stakeholders, and a purchaser who has fallen sufferer to shock billing to rejoice the approaching implementation of the federal No Surprises Act on January 1, 2022. The No Surprises Act will shield people from receiving shock medical bills. 

“A patient who has very carefully researched and selected an in-network facility and company or is trying to get care since of an crisis should really not be trapped with out-of-community prices and billing when they experienced tiny or no alternative relating to vendors that could, in the conclusion, be out -of-network,” reported Gov. Wolf. “The Wolf Administration has been committed to protecting consumers from balance billing, and the implementation of the No Surprises Act is a key move towards ending sudden, upsetting and several moments fiscally devastating health care expenditures.”

A surprise invoice is an unanticipated health-related bill that a affected individual receives when they unintentionally attain health care from a supplier that is outside the house their plan’s provider community. Shock bills can come about in unexpected emergency circumstances, but can also take place in a non-crisis circumstance, when an out-of-network ancillary supplier these types of as an anesthesiologist or radiologist provides care at an in-community facility.

The No Surprises Act will guard patients from surprise costs by requiring that emergency solutions are billed as in-community, with no needing prior acceptance, and specified non-crisis solutions at an in-community facility furnished by out-of-network ancillary vendors are also coated as in-community. In both circumstances, clients will be responsible for no far more than their in-network value-sharing (like a deductible or co-pay back) for the company.

In addition, the No Surprises Act will ban sure other out-of-community rates and harmony billing without progress discover. Well being treatment companies and facilities will be required to present individuals with a plain-language purchaser see outlining that affected person consent is essential to get care on an out-of-network foundation right before that provider can invoice the buyer.

Now, Gov. Wolf also signed an Govt Buy designating the PID as the direct company to coordinate implementation of the No Surprises Act in the Commonwealth. Clients who get a shock healthcare monthly bill for expert services offered on or following January 1, 2022, may speak to the Insurance plan Department at with any inquiries or to file a complaint. They might also search for support from their overall health program.

“The Insurance policy Section has been given a lot of complaints about shock expenditures around the past few decades,” said Insurance plan Commissioner Jessica Altman. “Our healthcare system is difficult sufficient. The key concern adhering to main professional medical processes should be restoration, not be concerned more than health care billing. My division stands prepared to carry out this new legislation and shield people who act in fantastic religion.”

In addition to Commissioner Altman, Gov. Wolf was joined by the next supporters in Philadelphia Executive Director of the Pennsylvania

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