Pharmaceutical companies including Novartis and Roche have teamed up with global cancer organizations in an alliance aimed at getting more oncology medications to poorer countries.

The world is no better prepared for a new pandemic than it was when coronavirus emerged in 2019 and may actually be in a worse place given the economic toll, according to a panel set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) to evaluate the global response.

Several generic drugmakers that will produce versions of Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid agreed to sell the medicine in low-income and middle-income countries for $25 a course or less, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) said on May 12.

The World Health Organization’s European chief said on May 10 that at least 3,000 people had died in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February because they had been unable to access treatments for chronic diseases.

Thirty five generic drugmakers around the world will make cheap versions of Pfizer Inc.’s highly effective COVID-19 oral antiviral Paxlovid to supply the treatment in 95 poorer countries, the U.N.-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) said on March 17.

Hundreds of thousands of people inside Ukraine were cut off from life-saving aid due to the military encirclement of cities, a U.N. report said on March 7, calling urgently for safe passage.

Pfizer Inc. is expected to provide around 10 million courses of the company’s highly effective COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid to low-income and middle-income countries during 2022, according to an official with the Global Fund, a healthcare NGO working to buy the pills from the drugmaker.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a lot of talk about the “new normal,” with most people wanting to get back to the “old normal.” Two-plus years into the pandemic, it’s obvious that COVID-19 is not going away, prompting discussion about what this “new normal” will actually look like.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has steered the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is on course to serve a second five-year term as head of the World Health Organization (WHO) after being the only candidate nominated by 28 countries.

Merck

Merck & Co. signed a licensing agreement with the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) that will allow more companies to manufacture generic versions of the company’s experimental oral antiviral Covid-19 treatment, the U.S. drugmaker and the organization announced on Oct. 27.