Merck To License COVID Pill Globally Royalty-Free

NPR reports:

U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. said it will license drugmakers worldwide to produce its potentially lifesaving antiviral pill for treatment of COVID-19 in adults.

The drug, known as molnupiravir, has shown promise in treating the disease, and the agreement to license its production could help millions of people in the developing world gain access to it. Merck said earlier this month that a recent study of molnupiravir showed that it cut hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in half.

Under the agreement, Merck and Ridgeback will receive no royalties as long as COVID-19 is considered a global emergency by the World Health Organization. Makers of coronavirus vaccines have yet to make similar agreements, despite pressure from governments and the WHO.

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