Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral medication to treat the coronavirus disease, is displayed in this picture taken on Oct. 7, 2022.

Wolfgang Rattay | Reuters

Pfizer will price a five-day course of its Covid antiviral drug Paxlovid at $1,390 when the company starts to transition it to the commercial market later this year.

A company spokesperson on Wednesday confirmed the price, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. That list price, which is before rebates and other discounts to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, is more than double the $529 the federal government paid for Paxlovid.

The government has purchased and distributed Paxlovid to the public for free since December 2021, when the FDA first authorized the treatment. But beginning in 2024, Pfizer will sell Paxlovid directly to health insurers, which comes as demand for Covid vaccines and treatments slumps nationwide.

Doctors, health experts and patient advocates have raised concerns that a higher price will curb access to the life-saving treatment, which has been shown to reduce the risk of severe disease and death from Covid among vulnerable patients, such as those with diabetes, heart conditions or a weakened immune system. 

But health insurance plans will likely pay much less than the nearly $1,400 list price for Paxlovid, meaning patients will probably have small or no out-of-pocket costs. Pfizer also noted that it is working with payers to lower copays for patients.

Pfizer plans to subsidize copays of people who are commercially insured at least through 2028.

“As always, Pfizer’s goal is to ensure broad and equitable access to our medicines. We are working diligently with payers to achieve the best possible formulary placement for PAXLOVID, resulting in low OOP costs for patients,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement to CNBC.

On Friday, the company also said it expects revenue from Paxlovid to come in $7 billion lower than previously anticipated, partly due to the return of doses labeled for emergency use by the federal government.

Overall, Pfizer now expects 2023 sales of $58 billion to $61 billion, down from its previous guidance of $67 billion to $70 billion. Pfizer said it cut its revenue outlook “solely due to its Covid products.”

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— CNBC’s Angelica Peebles contributed to this report.

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