Expensive price tags expected for COVID-19 treatments upon market release.

Next week, the COVID-19 treatments that many Americans received for free from the federal government will become available for purchase on the private market, at a high cost.

The cost of a five-day supply of Paxlovid from Pfizer will be $1,390, but for the time being, Americans can obtain the medication for free. Another COVID-19 treatment, Lagevrio from Merck, will also be available starting next week.

According to officials from the U.S. Health and Human Services, there will continue to be millions of free courses of medication available at various pharmacies, hospitals, and doctor’s offices throughout the country. However, those with private insurance may begin to see copays for these treatments once their pharmacy or doctor’s office exhausts their supply of government-provided COVID-19 treatments.

In 2021, the U.S. government agreed to pay over $5 billion to Pfizer for 10 million treatments of Paxlovid.

A new agreement between Pfizer and the government was recently reached, stating that individuals on Medicaid, Medicare, or without medical insurance will not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for treatment until the end of next year. Pfizer will also provide copay assistance for treatment until 2028. The Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, and Indian Health Service will continue to have access to Paxlovid from the government’s supply. Additionally, the government will receive 1 million treatment courses to keep in reserve.

Next week, drug companies will start taking orders from suppliers for treatments to be delivered to pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and hospitals.

Pfizer stated in an email to The Associated Press that they are dedicated to a seamless transition for commercial purposes and are actively collaborating with the U.S. government and healthcare partners to guarantee fair and widespread availability of this significant medication for all qualifying patients.

Since 2021, Paxlovid has been utilized as a treatment for COVID-19. However, earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval for its use on adults with coronavirus who are at high risk of being hospitalized or dying. This high-risk group is typically composed of older adults and individuals with medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and obesity.

Revenue for Paxlovid and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, is projected to reach around $12.5 billion for the entire year.

Merck has not yet announced the official price for its Lagevrio treatment. However, in a statement to AP, the company stated that they will also provide the treatment at no cost to patients who would not be able to afford it without assistance.

Tom Murphy, a reporter from the Associated Press in Indianapolis, contributed to this report.