More than £550 million of Covid drugs have been wasted in the U.K., according to analysis of health data by health analytics firm Airfinty. The Telegraph has the story – though be warned, it’s from Sarah Newey of the pro-pharma, Gates-funded Global Health Security team, so comes with that slant.
Paxlovid – an antiviral developed by Pfizer and designed to be used shortly after people test positive for COVID-19 – was approved across Britain in 2021 after trial results found it reduced the risk of severe illness by almost 90%.
Yet more than one million courses of the antiviral have now expired in the U.K., according to a report from the health analytics firm Airfinty. That figure could surge to 2.2 million by the end of June – equivalent to £1.1 billion worth of wasted drugs.
Britain’s unused stock is higher than anywhere else in Europe. About 200,000 doses expired before they were prescribed in Spain, and 100,000 in France and Italy, respectively. …
Prof Paul Hunter, a professor in Medicine at the University of East Anglia, said: “My personal view is that we probably were over narrow.
“Age itself was not an indicator for its use in the U.K., but I would have included older age groups in the target group even in the absence of one of the indicator diseases.”
Yet he added that there are legitimate reasons for a cautious rollout of Paxlovid, and said a positive Covid test should be a prerequisite. In the U.S., this requirement was dropped in 2023.
“Antiviral drug resistance is a real problem and although so far, not a big problem for Paxlovid and Covid, it is only a matter of time – studies have shown evolution of resistance is possible,” he said.
“So if very many people were taking Paxlovid … it is likely that resistance to the drug would develop more rapidly, and then it would no longer be of such value.” …
The burden of disease has also fallen, while Paxlovid appears less effective against new strains of Covid. Even the U.S., which accounts for 54% of reported sales to date, negotiated a deal to return 7.9 million courses of unused Paxlovid in October.
While Pfizer sold $19 billion of Paxlovid in 2022, this dropped to just $1 billion in 2023.
Paxlovid was also – predictably, given the way it works by inducing mutations in the virus – found to be likely driving the creation of infectious new variants of the virus. Way to go, pharma. Again.
And who can forget the Paxlovid rebound, where the virus often came back as soon as the treatment stopped?