Pfizer Is Building a ‘Paxlovid Patent Wall,’ New Research Reveals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New research from Public Citizen reveals that Pfizer has filed or intends to file patent applications in 61 countries plus four regional patent offices – covering an additional 87 countries – for nirmatrelvir, a key component in its new COVID-19 therapeutic, Paxlovid. A new map illustrates the potential patent coverage from these filings. In November, Pfizer signed a licensing agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool to authorize generic production in 95 low- and middle-income countries. Burcu Kilic, research director for Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, released the following statement:

“It’s clear from the filings that Pfizer is building a Paxlovid patent wall, and each brick in this wall can be used to block generic entry and affordable access in countries where Pfizer stands to make massive profits.

“After facing widespread criticism for failing to share vaccine technology during a pandemic, Pfizer agreed to license its COVID treatment Paxlovid for generics sales. But Pfizer left out much of the world.

“Even while Pfizer was taking credit for the licensing deal, Pfizer was busy building a far-reaching patent wall to prevent generic competition in the rest of the world, despite the reality that many countries, including most of Latin America, may endure supply shortages and unaffordable prices.

“Now, health advocates will work together to take down Pfizer’s patent wall brick by brick to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to COVID treatments.”