Pfizer investing $120M to boost US COVID-19 treatment production
Pfizer announced Monday that it is investing $120 million to boost production of its COVID-19 treatment pills in the United States.
The move will create more than 250 jobs at its plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., the company said, as it looks to increase production of Paxlovid.
The Michigan plant will become the primary global source of active ingredients for Paxlovid as the company looks to make 120 million treatment courses this year, Pfizer Chief Global Supply Officer Mike McDermott told the Detroit Free Press.
The investment “will allow Pfizer to increase supply by an additional 4 million packs of Paxlovid, allowing us to meet global demand and help increase overall access,” said Pfizer spokeswoman Julia Cohen.
Increasing availability and use of Paxlovid has been a primary goal of the Biden administration. Health officials have acknowledged that in the early days after it was authorized in December, supply of the medication was limited and many doctors were reluctant to prescribe it for all but the highest-risk patients.
After efforts to get the word out about expanded supply and availability, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha touted last week that there are now 30,000 prescriptions for the treatment per day in the U.S.
Paxlovid is seen as a key part of making COVID-19 more manageable, given that the treatment has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by around 90 percent.
To date, Pfizer has shipped 12 million courses globally to 37 countries, including 5 million to the U.S., the company said.
“By increasing production at our Michigan facility, we are both helping patients around the world and expanding important manufacturing innovation to the U.S,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.