Pfizer Inc is not in talks with Chinese authorities to license a generic version of its Covid-19 treatment Paxlovid for use there, but is in discussions about a price for the branded product, Chief Executive Albert Bourla said on Monday.
Reuters reported on Friday that China was in talks with Pfizer to secure a license that will allow domestic drugmakers to manufacture and distribute a generic version of the US firm's Covid-19 antiviral drug Paxlovid in China.
Referring to that report, Bourla speaking at JP Morgan's healthcare conference in San Francisco, said "We are not in discussions. We have an agreement already for local manufacturing of Paxlovid in China. So we have a local partner that will make Paxlovid for us, and then we will sell it to the Chinese market."
Bourla said the company had shipped thousands of courses of the treatment in 2022 to China and in the past couple of weeks, had increased that to millions.
On Sunday, China's Healthcare Security Administration (NHSA) said that the country would not include Paxlovid in an update to its list of medicines covered by basic medical insurance schemes as the US firm quoted a high price for the Covid-19 drug.
Bourla said that talks with China on future pricing for the treatment had broken off after China had asked for a lower price than Pfizer is charging for most lower middle income countries.
"They are the second highest economy in the world and I don't think that they should pay less than El Salvador," Bourla said.
Still, Bourla said the removal from the list would not have an effect on the company's business there until April. He said the company had shipped millions of courses of the drug to China in recent weeks.
The company could end up selling only to the private market in China, he said.