Paxlovid is the first oral medication of its kind authorized by the FDA to treat COVID-19, with the aim of reducing the need for hospitalization before patients become too ill from the infection.
The FDA on Dec. 22, 2021, granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer's COVID-19 pill as a treatment for mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 in patients aged 12 and older. The FDA doesn't recommend Paxlovid for those with severe kidney or liver disease.
Paxlovid consists of a cocktail of two drugs, the first being nirmatrelvir, which stops the SARS-CoV-2 virus from replicating, while the second component, ritonavir, acts to prolong nirmatrelvir's effects.
"Getting vaccinated remains the most important action anyone can take to help protect themselves and others and end this pandemic, but for people who do get sick in the future and are at risk of severe outcomes, having pills they can take to keep them out of the hospital could be a lifesaver," Becerra said. "This agreement would help ensure millions of doses of this drug would be available to the American people if it is authorized.”