The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone in Canada from COVID-19. This includes securing safe and effective drugs as they become available.
Today the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced that the government has signed a new conditional agreement with AstraZeneca for 100,000 doses of its antibody therapy, Evusheld, for the prevention (pre-exposure prophylaxis) of COVID-19. The antibody therapy is under review by Health Canada for use in specific high-risk patient populations, such as people who are immunocompromised. Health Canada is currently prioritizing the review of all COVID-19 vaccines and drugs.
Should the therapy receive regulatory approval, initial deliveries would be expected to arrive in Canada within a month of authorization. The Public Health Agency of Canada would then coordinate distribution and delivery schedules with provincial and territorial officials immediately following initial deliveries.
Public health measures, vaccination, and therapeutics all play important roles in protecting public health and saving lives. The government continues to pursue a diverse portfolio of therapeutics to keep everyone safe, including people who are immunocompromised.
Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, said, “We are pleased to announce yet another important procurement in Canada’s fight against COVID-19. Securing antibody therapies, such as Evusheld, will enhance our robust toolkit of therapeutics to protect the health and safety of everyone in Canada.”
“Vaccination continues to be the most important tool we have against severe outcomes from COVID-19. However, while vaccines provide excellent protection, people who are immunocompromised may need additional protection against COVID-19. That is why our government continues to grow its suite of treatments and preventative therapies to protect the health of everyone who lives in Canada,” Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, said.
Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada are working together to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and related supplies.
Health Canada started receiving information for the submission from AstraZeneca to authorize Evusheld on November 3, 2021. Health Canada reviews submissions through an independent process and authorizes products based on scientific rigour and medical evidence.
Canada also previously secured access to courses of two oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19: Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir. Health Canada authorized Paxlovid on January 17, 2022, and the molnupiravir submission is under review.