President Joe Biden’s administration is set to purchase 10 million courses of Pfizer’s anti-COVID-19 treatment pills in a multi-billion-dollar investment, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Pfizer and a smaller pharmaceutical company, Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, have both developed effective therapeutic treatments the administration hopes can be used to lower hospitalization rates for people who contract COVID-19. Pfizer’s testing has reportedly found that its 5-day treatment course of 30 pills has reduced risk of hospitalization and death by 89% for those who started the treatment within 3 days of exhibiting COVID symptoms.
The White House deal, which reportedly has yet to be finalized, will purchase roughly 3.1 million courses of Merck’s treatment for $2.2 billion, and 10 million courses of Pfizer’s treatment for roughly $5 billion. (RELATED: ‘Don’t Worry … Science Has Got Your Back’: Pfizer Gets Dragged For ‘Creepy’ Meme On Vaccine ‘Misinformation’)
The treatments are not identical, however. Pfizer’s 5-day course includes 10 pills formerly used to treat HIV patients. The pills increase the effective duration of the COVID pills. Merck’s treatment, however, relies on inserting defective genetic information into COVID-19 viruses, preventing them from reproducing.
The Biden administration has previously approved Pfizer’s vaccine treatments for adults and children as young as 12. The FDA is also expected to approve Pfizer’s vaccine booster shot for everyone over the age of 18.
The White House has maintained that the most effective means of combating COVID-19 is vaccines, however. The Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for companies employing more than 100 workers has run into staunch opposition on the state level.
More than a dozen states have filed lawsuits to block the mandate, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit halted the administration’s rule on November 6 pending litigation. The administration remains confident it will enforce the rule, however.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is confident in its legal authority to issue the emergency temporary standard on vaccination and testing. The Occupational Safety and Health Act explicitly gives OSHA the authority to act quickly in an emergency where the agency finds that workers are subjected to a grave danger and a new standard is necessary to protect them,” Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The new emergency temporary standard is well within OSHA’s authority under the law and is consistent with OSHA’s requirements to protect the health and safety of workers,” she added.