U.S. Pharmaceutical Company Merck to Share Formula for Its COVID Pill With Poor Countries

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The U.S pharmaceutical company, Merck, has announced a licensing deal that allows them to share the formula for their COVID-19 pill in poor countries.

Merck has agreed to a royalty-free license for its COVID-19 pill, the New York Times reports.

The result will mean that the pill can be manufactured by other drugmakers in a move to help poorer countries access the drug.

The Independent added that the Medicines Patent Pool said in a statement, that it had signed a voluntary licensing agreement with Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Medicines Patent Pool is an organization that works to make medical treatment accessible globally.

With the agreement in place, companies in 105 countries are now able to sublicense the formula for the pill.

The pill, called Molnupiravir, is the first pill that has successfully shown it can treat the coronavirus.

As per the NYT, it was reported by Merck that in a clinical trial, Molnupiravir had managed to halve the rate of hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk COVID-19 patients.

The lead of Knowledge Ecology International, a nonprofit research organization, James Love, said this development “will make a difference,” the outlet added.

“The Merck license is a very good and meaningful protection for people living in countries where more than half of the world’s population lives.”

The Director of the Medicines Patent Pool, Charles Gore emphasized that this pill has the potential to make “things a lot easier in terms of keeping people out of hospital and stopping people dying in low- and middle-income countries.”

“This is the first transparent public health license for a COVID medicine, and really importantly, it is for something that could be used outside of hospitals, and which is potentially going to be very cheap,” he also added.