Low-cost version of Merck Covid-19 pill molnupiravir to be made by 27 drugmakers

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) – Nearly 30 generic drugs manufacturers signed an agreement to produce low-cost versions of Merck & Co’s Covid-19 pill molnupiravir, the UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) said on Thursday (Jan 20).

The agreement, negotiated by the MPP with Merck, allows 27 generic drugmakers from India, China and other countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to produce ingredients and the finished drug.

The MPP said that deal stipulates that the pill will be distributed to 105 less-developed nations.

The developers of molnupiravir, which alongside Merck are US firm Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Emory University, will not receive royalties for the sale of its low-cost version produced by generic drugmakers.

“This is a critical step towards ensuring global access to an urgently needed Covid-19 treatment and we are confident that, as manufacturers are working closely with regulatory authorities, the anticipated treatments will be rapidly available,” said MPP Executive Director Charles Gore.