Merck waives the royalties of its anti Covid pill for sale in poor countries-

Merck waives the royalties of its anti Covid pill for sale in poor countries-
Merck waives the royalties of its anti Covid pill for sale in poor countries-
from Cristina Marrone

The company has announced an agreement to produce and sell the antiviral (not yet approved) in developing countries for $ 20 instead of $ 700.

Merck and Co. (known as MSD outside the US and Canada) has granted a royalty-free license for its promising Covid-19 molnupiravir pill to a UN-backed nonprofit in an agreement that would allow it to produce and sell the drug at low cost to poorer nations.

The agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool, an organization working to make medical care and technologies accessible globally, will allow companies in 105 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia, to license the formulation for the antiviral pill so they can start manufacturing it. The American pharmaceutical company with compatriot Ridgeback Botherapeutics and Emory University in Atlanta (who discovered the molecule) will not receive royalties for sales of the drug as long as Covid-19 remains classified by the World Health Organization as a public health emergency of international interest.

In Africa

The signatories intend the operation to help create broad access to molnupiravir in 105 low- and middle-income countries, after the drug is approved that has proven capable of halving hospitalizations and deaths in adults with mild to moderate to high Covid. risk of progression to severe forms. This agreement, transparent and public health oriented – he says Charles Gore, executive director of MPP – the first voluntary MPP license for a Covid-19 medical technology, and we hope it will be of strong encouragement for other developers of anti-Covid treatments. Gore said more than 50 companies, from all regions of the developing world, have already contacted the organization to obtain a sublicense. Stephen Saad, chief executive of Aspen Pharmacare in South Africa, said his company plans to apply for a license to manufacture molnupiravir and distribute it across Africa to a cost of $ 20 per treatment (against 700 US dollars).

The rush to the pill

Under the licensing agreement, Merck would continue to manufacture and sell the drug in wealthy nations and many middle-income countries at significantly higher prices. The pill has not yet been approved and has already rushed to grab the antiviral. France has already ordered 50,000 doses, the United States 1.7 million doses. New Zealand, Australia and South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia have already signed contracts to buy the drug or to acquire the license to produce it.

The risk of hospitalization has been halved

The pharmaceutical company reported earlier this month that the pill would halve the risk of death and hospitalization of unvaccinated Covid patients after stopping the Phase 3 clinical trial for manifest superiority of the drug Compared to placebo, Merck submitted its clinical trial data to the Food and Drug Administration asking for authorization for the emergency use of monupilovir, and a decision could come in early December. Two days ago, the EMA, the European Medicines Agency launched an ongoing review for the pill. If marketing authorization is granted, monupilovir could be the first antiviral for the treatment of Covid.

October 27, 2021 (change October 27, 2021 | 18:47)


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