Pharmaceutical company Pfizer will price the Covid antiviral medicine, Paxlovid, at $1,390 for a five-day course after it transitions to commercial markets.
The federal government had earlier only paid $529 for the drug, making the list price more than double that before retailer and insurer discounts.
The government has distributed Paxlovid to the public for free since Dec. 2021. Pfizer will begin selling directly to health insurers in 2024.
Doctors and health experts worry that the steep price will prevent vulnerable patients from accessing the proven life-saving treatment.
Health insurance plans may pay much less than the price, with patients having to pay some or none of the cost out-of-pocket.
Pfizer is working to lower patient copays for those who are commercially insured at least until 2028 so it's accessible to the people who need it the most.
The company is expecting a $7 billion lower revenue than expected because some doses were returned, labeled for federal government emergency use.
It now anticipates 2023 sales of $58 to $61 billion, a decrease from the previously projected $67 to $70 billion due to its COVID-related products.