Factbox: Countries rush to purchase experimental antiviral COVID-19 pills


FILE PHOTO: An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters on October 26, 2021. Merck & Co Inc/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Merck & Co Inc has signed deals to sell about 9 million courses of its experimental COVID-19 pill molnupiravir to governments around the world as nations try to tame the pandemic.


The treatment, which received its first regulatory approvals in Britain and Denmark, is not the only one in the game.


In November, U.S. peer Pfizer Inc called an early halt to a trial of its antiviral drug Paxlovid, which according to final analysis showed nearly 90% efficacy in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients.


While a review of both treatments is ongoing in the United States, a panel of expert advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) narrowly voted on Dec. 1 to recommend the agency authorize Merck's antiviral pill.


In the European Union, Merck's treatment is still under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). However, faced with rising COVID-19 cases, the regulator on Nov. 19 issued advice on using the pill for adults ahead of providing any wider recommendation.


EMA last week said that EU member states could use Pfizer's antiviral drug early after diagnosis of an infection even though its full review for regulatory approval has not been completed yet.


The following tables list countries that have expressed interest in Merck or Pfizer pills, sorted alphabetically:


Merck pill


COUNTRY VOLUME PRICE TIMING OF SOURCE


DELIVERY


Australia 300,000 doses


Belgium 10,000 doses


Canada 500,000


courses


EU


France 50,000 doses


Germany


Indonesia 600,000 - 1 December ,


million doses 2021


Italy 50,000 courses


Japan 1.6 mln $1.2


courses billion


Malaysia 150,000


courses


Philippines 300,000 100-150 November


courses pesos 2021


($1.97-$2


.96) per


pill


Singapore


South Korea 200,000


courses


Switzerland 8,640 doses Jan 2022


"at the


latest"


Thailand 200,000


courses


UK


2,230,000 early


2022


courses


United 3,100,000 $700 per


States courses course,


total of


$2.2


billion


Pfizer pill


COUNTRY VOLUME PRICE TIMING OF SOURCE


DELIVERY


Australia 500,000 https://bit.ly/3BTUQeL


courses


Canada 1 mln doses


EU


Germany


Italy 50,000


courses


South Korea 70,000


courses


Thailand


UK


2,750,000 Early


courses 2022


United 10,000,000 $530 per by the end