Roll-out of Covid pills is key, says CBI leader

Roll-out of Covid pills is key in protecting the economy, says CBI leader

The president of the Confederation of British Industry has urged regulators to urgently approve an anti-viral pill which could be vital in tackling Covid and protecting the economy.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is considering whether to approve Pfizer’s Paxlovid. Trial data has shown it cuts the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89 per cent.

The Government has ordered 250,000 courses of the £375 drug, and 480,000 of rival Merck Sharp and Dohme’s antiviral drug Molnupiravir, which reduces the risk of hospitalisation or death by 50 per cent.

‘That pill could be a gamechanger’, said CBI president Lord Bilimoria

CBI president Lord Bilimoria told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The same urgency and effort has to be put behind approving and rolling out these tablets as with the vaccine effort. That pill could be a gamechanger in tackling this wretched virus.’

The complex manufacturing process makes the drugs difficult to rapidly produce in large volumes. But Bilimoria urged Ministers to make further orders.

He said the tablets need to be supplied ‘to every GP in the country’ for patients with positive Covid tests.

Bilimoria demanded that Chancellor Rishi Sunak offer a new round of support to businesses impacted by the Omicron surge. 

Bilimoria said: ‘Look at restaurants and bars and retail – there’s so much suffering and they need support again.

‘It’s like if you hit the ball in tennis and then don’t follow through.’