France’s deal with Merck for Covid antiviral drug collapses post trial
Category: #health  By Vikas M  Date: 2021-12-25
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France’s deal with Merck for Covid antiviral drug collapses post trial

The French health authority has been reluctant to authorize Merck’s Covid antiviral pill

France has called off its order for Covid antiviral drug developed by American pharmaceutical giant Merck following unsatisfactory trial results.

According to the Health Minister Olivier Véran, the country will now procure competitor drug developed by Pfizer before January end.

Reportedly, France is the only nation that has come forward and publicly cancelled an order for the Merck drug after the pharmaceutical company published data indicating that its drug is relatively less effective than that expected.

Apparently, Merck’s treatment was able to bring down hospitalizations and deaths during clinical trials involving high-risk cases by 30%.

A reliable Merck representative stated, the scheduled purchase was not executed after the country’s health ministry declined from authorizing the pill earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the pharma company has continued to work on its regulatory review of the drug with the European Medicines Association (EMA) and has partnered with more than 30 countries for supplying the pill. As of now, Merck has successfully shipped the drug to 12 countries.

Even though governments are heavily relying on vaccines as a weapon against Covid-19, experimental pills designed by Pfizer and Merck are anticipated to be a game changer in drastically reversing the risk of death or hospitalization for individuals exposed to higher risk of severe illness.

Earlier, France had placed an order for 50,000 doses of Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics developed drug molnupiravir.

Mr. Véran clarified that the scrubbing of earlier placed order will not incur any cost.

The Italian office of special commissioner for Covid emergency recently announced receival of a mandate from the health ministry over purchase of 50,000 doses of Merck’s pill along with 50,000 courses of drug from Pfizer.

Nicola Magrini, Head of Italian drug regulator Aifa, mentioned during a Senate committee that the two treatments may enter the Italian market from end of January.

Nonetheless, leading government scientific advisers have assured that despite of drug availability, they will be thoroughly assessed for their use.

Source Credits: https://www.indiatoday.in/coronavirus-outbreak/story/france-scraps-order-merck-covid-antiviral-drug-disappointing-trial-results-1891531-2021-12-24

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