US buys $1 billion worth of Merck's pill


US buys $1 billion worth of Merck's pill

The Biden administration will buy an additional 1.4 million cycles of birth control pills developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to prevent or treat COVID-19, a purchase worth nearly $1 billion, the two companies announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The US has now committed to acquiring about 3.1 million cycles of molnupiravir for $2.2 billion after the drug received emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

What they say: "We are honored that the US government has chosen to purchase more than 3 million cycles of molnupiravir, the most promising oral antiviral, so that molnupiravir if permitted, will be among the vaccines and drugs available to fight COVID-19 as part of our collective effort to end this pandemic. '," said Frank Klipburn, president of human health at Merck.

The FDA is currently reviewing Merck and Ridgeback's emergency use authorization application for the drug.

Merck said last month that molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by about 50% in a clinical trial.

Antiviral drugs to prevent COVID-19 such as molnupiravir will be vital to preventing deaths and treating severe symptomatic cases of the disease as not all people will agree to receive the vaccination.

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