Merck & Co.’s COVID-19 antiviral pill has obtained its first clearance from the UK drug regulator. Public health experts have hailed the drug as an important drug to fight the pandemic.
UK drugs regulator gives green light to Merck COVID-19 pill
On Thursday, November 4, The Financial Times reported that the UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency had authorized the Merck COVID-19 pill under the Lagevrio brand. This makes it possible to prescribe it for mild and moderate cases of COVID-19, as well as those with at least one risk factor for serious illness.
That said, this marks the first green light for the easy-to-administer oral treatment, molnupiravir. Previous studies have shown that the drug halved the risk of hospitalization or death.
The company has also requested emergency clearance from the US and the EU, but has yet to receive a response. Their antiviral drug COVID-19 has attracted many governments since the positive results of their Phase 3 clinical trial.
Countries order Merck COVID-19 pill
Countries around the world have purchased the Merck COVID-19 pill since its test results were released. For example, the UK has purchased almost half a million doses of molnupiravir. In addition, the United States ordered 1.7 million treatments of the drug at a total cost of $ 1.2 billion.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that France’s Health Minister Olivier Veran announced that the country has also placed a pre-order of around 50,000 doses of Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral pill.
In Asia, a separate report from Reuters reported that the Philippines is expected to receive 300,000 courses of the Merck COVID-19 pill this month as Asian countries rush to gain early access to the experimental pill. Other Asian countries that have already placed an order include Singapore and Malaysia.