Generic drug manufacturers will make a more affordable version of Merck’s anti-Covid pill for 105 of the world’s poorer nations, a UN-backed organisation said on Thursday.
The global Medicines Patent Pool signed agreements with 27 manufacturers to produce the oral antiviral medicine molnupiravir, for supply in low- and-middle-income countries, AFP reports.
“This is a critical step toward ensuring global access to an urgently needed Covid-19 treatment and we are confident that… the anticipated treatments will be rapidly available in LMICs,” said MPP executive director Charles Gore.
Merck granted a licence to the MPP in an agreement announced in October. The MPP, in turn, issued sub-licences to the generic drugs makers.
The sub-licences allow manufacturers to produce the raw ingredients for molnupiravir, and/or the finished drug itself.
The companies are spread across Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea and Vietnam.
Five manufacturers will focus on producing the raw ingredients; 13 will produce both raw ingredients and molnupiravir itself; while nine will simply produce the finished drug.