Merck gives permission for other drug manufacturers to produce COVID pill

Merck, the pharmaceutical company behind the landmark COVID-19 pill that is set to help millions of people in poorer nations fight off the coronavirus, has now given permission to other drug companies to manufacturer the drug.

On Wednesday, the Medicines Patent Pool, an UN-backed health organization, announced it had a signed a voluntary licensing agreement for Molnupiravir with Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotheraputics.

As part of the agreement, Merck will allow for the Medicines Patent Pool to issue additional licenses to other drug manufacturers who have already been approved to make the pill. Other terms of the deal include the clause that no company will receive royalties until the World Health Organization no longer deems COVID-19 a global health emergency.

This undated file image provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication.
This undated file image provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication.


This undated file image provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication.

Molnupiravir is the first of its kind drug that has shown “compelling” evidence that it can treat COVID-19, according to Medicines Patent Pool Executive Director Charles Gore.

Merck is still awaiting for the pill to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency. Decisions from both those agencies can be made within weeks, ABC News reported.

Earlier this month, Merck said that initial data from their drug’s trials proved that the pill could reduce hospitalizations and deaths for patients by half. Early onset symptoms also saw significant reduction as well.