Health Care

CEO: Merck on pace to distribute tens of millions of doses of COVID-19 antiviral pills if approved

Merck's Media for Press

The CEO of Merck said during an interview on CNBC that the biopharmaceutical company was on pace to distribute tens of millions of the COVID-19 antiviral pill it developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics once it receives federal approval.

“Right now we’re on pace to have 10 million doses, or 10 million courses, ready before the end of this year and more than double that next year,” Robert Davis said on Thursday.

“We’re working with governments, and we’re well positioned to get this thing moving very quickly once we have it approved,” he added.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to hold an advisory committee meeting to weigh Merck’s request for the emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 antiviral pill molnupiravir on Nov. 30. 

Davis said that he hoped, depending on the outcome of that meeting, that they would be able to start shipping out doses of the antiviral drug within the United States and globally before the end of the year.

Earlier this month, Merck announced that it had requested the FDA to authorize molnupiravir for emergency use. Last month, the biopharmaceutical company said that lab studies indicated that molnupiravir was effective against the delta variant and other variants of COVID-19. Treatment was most effective in the earliest stages of infection. 

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the COVID-19 treatment would be a “game changer” while President Biden’s top medical adviser Anthony Fauci called the trial results released on molnupiravir “impressive.”

Pending FDA authorization for emergency use, the Biden administration has already secured a deal to buy 1.7 million doses of it, though Gottlieb argued that amount would not be enough for the U.S. 

Tags Anthony Fauci Anthony Fauci FDA Joe Biden Merck Ridgeback Biotherapeutics Scott Gottlieb

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