Merck Asks FDA to Authorize Anti-Coronavirus Pill

RAHWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 29: A man walks near the main entrance of a Merck plant November 29, 2005 in Rahway, New Jersey. U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck, announced plans to cut some 7,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its global workforce, by the end of 2008. (Photo by Marko Georgiev/Getty …
Marko Georgiev/Getty Images

Drugmaker Merck has asked United States regulators to authorize its pill for treating the Chinese coronavirus, the Associated Press (AP) reported Monday.

“If cleared by the Food and Drug Administration — a decision that could come in a matter of weeks — it would be the first pill shown to treat the illness. All other FDA-backed treatments against COVID-19 require an IV or injection,” the outlet said.

A pill individuals could take at home to reduce symptoms and hasten recovery could be groundbreaking, ease the caseload in U.S. hospitals, and aid in curbing outbreaks in countries with weak health care systems.

“It would also bolster the two-pronged approach to the pandemic: treatment, by way of medication, and prevention, primarily through vaccinations,” the outlet continued.

The FDA will examine the company’s data regarding the safety and effectiveness of the drug called molnupiravir, before making a decision.

“We look forward to working with the FDA on its review of our application,” Merck said in a social media post:

The drugmaker and its partner, Ridgeback Biotherapeutic, said they asked the agency to allow emergency use for adults experiencing mild-to-moderate coronavirus symptoms and who are at risk for severe illness or hospitalization.

“That is roughly the way COVID-19 infusion drugs are used,” the AP article read.

According to Dr. Nicholas Kartsonis, a senior vice president of Merck’s infectious disease unit, “The value here is that it’s a pill so you don’t have to deal with the infusion centers and all the factors around that. I think it’s a very powerful tool to add to the toolbox.”

The company said this month the pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half among those with early symptoms of the coronavirus.

During a recent interview on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) questioned the promotion of Merck’s experimental drug and how it could be used to pad the company’s bottom line.

“Now, they’re all hopping on board this Merck, Molnupiravir,” Johnson commented.

“The doctors’ groups that I’m dealing with, they call it money-piravir. Now, Merck, by the way, invented or they patented ivermectin. They’ve been trash-talking ivermectin in favor now of this drug that’ll be like $700.00 a dose versus ivermectin costs about six or seven cents a pill,” he added.

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