SUBSCRIBE

CATEGORIES

EU may consider deal on Merck’s COVID pill after approval procedure begins – source

imageStock Markets4 minutes ago (Oct 12, 2021 10:46AM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir 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 May 17, 2021. Merck & Co I

By Francesco Guarascio

(Reuters) – The European Union may consider signing a supply deal with U.S. drugmaker Merck for its experimental COVID-19 pill, but only after the company starts the process of seeking approval for the drug in the bloc, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

The oral antiviral treatment molnupiravir has been developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. On Monday Merck applied for emergency use authorisation in the United States, which has already secured 1.7 million courses of molnupiravir at a price of $700 per course.

The EU would consider a joint procurement of molnupiravir, “if Merck engages with EMA”, the EU official told Reuters, referring to the European Medicines Agency.

Throughout the pandemic, the EU has signed advance purchase deals for experimental vaccines and drugs against the new virus before companies applied to EMA, but the official said that approach had now changed because the 27-nation bloc has entered a new phase in the health emergency.

ROLLING REVIEW

With about 75% of its adult population vaccinated, the EU is now signing advance deals only when drugs have at least begun a so-called rolling review with EMA, the official said. Under this procedure, the EU regulator assesses data as soon as they become available, instead of waiting for a formal application when all required information has been gathered.

A spokesman for the EU Commission did not comment on whether the start of a rolling review was a precondition to have an advance deal with a drugmaker. He repeated that, in theory, to launch a joint procurement, at least four EU governments and the European Commission would need to support it.

Last week, EMA said it would consider in the coming days whether to start a rolling review for molnupiravir. On Tuesday it told Reuters the rolling review had not yet begun.

Merck did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the matter.

The EU official said talks with Merck had not yet started, and that the number of treatments the EU could secure would depend on several conditions, including pricing.

Under its advance purchase deals, the EU reserves a number of doses of a treatment or vaccine. EU states that decide to be part of the contract can buy their share of the reserved doses once the medicine has been authorised by the EMA or by a national regulator.

EU may consider deal on Merck’s COVID pill after approval procedure begins – source

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.