Commercial Merck broadens the supply of COVID 19 pills in...

Merck broadens the supply of COVID 19 pills in China


Merck has collaborated with Sinopharm to exclusively distribute and import their COVID-19 pills to be sold across China. These pills were co-produced by Ridgeback therapeutics and the name of the medication is Lagevrio (molnupiravir). Ridgeback Biotherapeutics creates prospective treatments for infectious illnesses with few or no therapy choices, such as Ebola and COVID-19.

Vaccinations against chickenpox, diabetes medication, cancer immunotherapy, and most recently COVID medication are among the most successful pharmaceutical products developed by Merck. Lagevrio is approved to treat mild to moderate (COVID-19) in people who have tested positive for COVID and have at least one risk factor for severe illness.

A similar five-year contract was initiated by Zhejiang Huahai recently for the sole right to produce and distribute Pfizer’s COVID-19 medication Paxlovid across China. In December last year, the COVID pills developed by Pfizer and Merck were approved in the United States. The medication is intended for those who have recently been infected with COVID and are in danger of being affected by severe illness due to the virus.

The oral COVID pill was a highly anticipated therapy option during the pandemic and both Merck and Pfizer have developed their own versions for it. 

Pfizer’s COVID pill proved to be successful in the market with a success rate of 89%. This number represents the decrease in the number of fatalities and hospitalization of patients taking the medicine. On the other hand, Merck’s therapy results were not as impressive as the efficacy rate was close to 30%.

Although there is always a chance of a variance in trial results of medicines that are competing in the market, this should serve as a warning regarding the disparity in cross-trial comparisons. In the United States, Paxlovid has emerged as the most preferred therapy for COVID-19. However, Lagevrio has held its own in other nations, becoming the dominant COVID treatment in several countries, such as Japan.

Merck announced Lagevrio sales of $1.2 billion in the second quarter. The business also maintained its annual sales target of $5 billion to $5.5 billion for the year. Pfizer, for its part, expects Paxlovid to generate more than $20 billion in revenue this year. Last year, as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR), Pfizer and Merck joined the Medicines Patent Pool. This allows the technology for their respective oral antivirals to be transferred to developing nations.

A medical specialist from Yale Scott Roberts stated:

“I believe it is the beginning of a ‘game-changer, this oral antiviral medication has proved to be the most effective for the COVID-19 virus.  It has a definite advantage, and it can truly save hospitalization and fatalities in high-risk patients.”

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