The UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) said Thursday that 35 drugmakers around the world would make cheaper versions of Pfizer’s Paxlovid, a highly effective COVID antiviral pill, according to Reuters.

In 2021, Pfizer struck an agreement with MPP to allow generic drugmakers to make Paxlovid pills for 95 low- and middle-income countries.

Paxlovid has been found 90% effective at reducing COVID hospitalizations in high-risk patients. The results were significantly better than Merck’s antiviral pill molnupiravir.

Both Pfizer and Merck signed deals with MPP to allow companies to develop their drugs’ generic versions. Merck has signed deals with more than 10 drugmakers to make generic molnupiravir in some countries.

However, both companies do not expect any drugmakers to manufacture significant supplies of Generic Paxlovid before the end of 2022.

The MPP said, “The 35 companies that will produce versions of Paxlovid or its active ingredient are based in 12 different countries.”

Some of the world’s largest generic manufacturers that will manufacture Generic Paxlovid include Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical, India-based Sun Pharma, US-based Viatris, among others.

Pfizer will not receive royalties from the sale of the generic versions of its drug while COVID-19 remains classified as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” by the World Health Organization, according to Reuters.

The MPP said, “Following the pandemic period, sales to low-income countries will remain royalty free, lower-middle-income countries and upper-middle-income countries will be subject to a 5% royalty for sales to the public sector and a 10% royalty for sales to the private sector.”

Pfizer has said it plans to develop at least 120 million Paxlovid (a combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir) courses of the treatment this year.

The pharma giant is also expected to provide 10 million courses Paxlovid to low- and middle-income countries this year, according to an official with the Global Fund – a healthcare NGO. The story was published Thursday in Reuters.