And by giving I mean “charging enough to limit availability to those who need it.” From CNN (boldface mine):
The price of the lifesaving Covid-19 medication Paxlovid is likely to rise next year for most patients as the United States continues to transition out of the emergency phase of the pandemic, sparking concerns among doctors that it will become less accessible.
Just as with Covid-19 vaccines this season, the antiviral – a combination of the drugs nirmatrelvir and ritonavir – will move from being available free to everyone through government purchases to a more traditional commercial marketplace for most patients at the end of this year, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services and drugmaker Pfizer.
The new price – the cost before insurance – hasn’t been set but is expected to be higher than the $530-per-course price paid by the US government…
One financial analyst who follows the company, Evercore ISI’s Umer Raffat, suggested that the price could go up three- to fivefold, to as much as $2,500 per course.
Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research, called the potential plans for a price increase “more bad news of price gouging by Pfizer.”
“Less people who need Paxlovid will get it – whether it’s because of lack of insurance, or concerns about payment/co-pay,” Topol wrote in an email. “Even for those who have full coverage, sticking it to insurers just winds up, in the long run, increasing health care insurance premiums for all.”
At this point, between this and the recent changes in wasterwater surveillance, U.S. COVID policy appears to be mostly about giving up and hoping long-term illness can be managed politically.