On your Mercks: rich nations rushing to repeat mistakes with ...

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On your Mercks: rich nations rushing to repeat mistakes with Covid pill

As with the global vaccine situation, some wealthy and middle-income nations have raced to the front of the queue

James Paton

Moves by a small group of countries to acquire supplies of Merck’s promising Covid pill before it’s even approved are raising concerns that some poorer nations could be left behind in a repeat of the slow and inequitable rollout of vaccines.

A global initiative to deploy Covid therapies like Merck’s molnupiravir is at risk of running into the same problems the Covax effort faced and has no clear mechanism to negotiate contracts and supply countries, according to an independent report commissioned by the World Health Organisation.

Merck has taken a series of steps, including licensing its experimental medication to generic-drug firms, to ensure access. Yet, in a worrisome echo of the global vaccine situation, some wealthy and middle-income nations, including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, have followed the US and already secured molnupiravir or started talks to obtain it...

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