Glimmer of hope for transition to normality / Vaccination remains most important tool / Problems with delivery must be solved quickly

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has just recommended conditional marketing authorisation for Pfizer's Corona drug Paxlovid. Official authorisation by the European Commission is now only a matter of hours. "This is good news for now. We now have a new possibility to help sick and vulnerable people in the early stages of an infection," said MEP Peter Liese, EPP spokesperson for health.

"Paxlovid has shown in clinical trials that, when used correctly, almost 90% of severe courses can be prevented. Paxlovid is a tablet, which is why it can be used in GP surgeries. It prevents the spread of the virus and is particularly helpful for people who are known to have a weak immune response, for example, kidney patients or cancer patients, and are at high risk of developing a severe course if they become infected. The authorisation of Paxlovid is therefore a real ray of hope," said the doctor and MEP. However, Liese cautioned that Paxlovid should in no way be seen as a substitute for vaccination. "These are not M&Ms.

The side effects are considerable, especially in interactions with other medicines. Therefore, anyone who thinks that because of the side effects from vaccination, you should not get vaccinated because there is a drug now, is wrong. Vaccination is still the most important measure to prevent severe courses of the disease and to take the horror out of the pandemic," Liese continued. In addition, the MEP pointed out the problem of the availability of the drug. "Unfortunately, there is no confirmation neither from individual member states nor from the European Commission, which is also in negotiations with Pfizer, that the drug will be delivered promptly. In the negotiations on the vaccines, Pfizer had shown itself to be a very stubborn negotiating partner in the summer and autumn of 2020 and had partly questioned the EU's liability law. As the conclusion of the current negotiations on the supply of Paxlovid is crucial in order to really make the drug available to patients in the EU, I have sent an urgent appeal to Pfizer boss Albert Bourla. I hope that the Commission will therefore also be able to announce that the availability of the drug will be completed in the near future," said Liese.