Factbox: Countries rush to buy experimental COVID-19 antiviral pills | World news


(Reuters) – Merck & Co Inc has signed deals to sell around 9 million courses of its experimental COVID-19 pill molnupiravir to governments around the world as nations try to bring the pandemic under control.

The treatment, which received its first regulatory approvals in Britain and Denmark, is not the only one at stake.

In November, its US counterpart Pfizer Inc ended a trial of its antiviral drug Paxlovid, which, according to the final analysis, showed nearly 90% effectiveness in preventing hospitalizations and death in patients with high risk.

While a review of the two treatments is underway in the United States, a panel of expert advisers from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) narrowly voted on December 1 to recommend that the agency authorize Merck’s antiviral pill.

In the European Union, Merck’s treatment is still under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). However, in the face of increasing COVID-19 cases, the regulator issued advice on the use of the pill for adults on November 19 before providing a broader recommendation.

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The EMA said last week that EU member states could use Pfizer’s antiviral drug as soon as an infection is diagnosed, although its full review for regulatory approval is not yet complete.

The following tables list the countries that have expressed interest in Merck or Pfizer pills, listed in alphabetical order:


Indonesia 600,000 – December 1,

Philippines 300,000 100-150 November

Switzerland 8,640 doses Jan. 2022

United 3 100,000 $ 700 per


Australia 500,000 https://bit.ly/3BTUQeL

United $ 10,000,000 530 by by the end

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(Reporting by Ina Kreutz, Agnieszka Gosciak and Federica Urso; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Bernadette Baum, Angus MacSwan, Frances Kerry and Paul Simao)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.


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