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Merck Signs Agreement with WHO for Molnupiravir


Following representations by international public health agencies, Merck has signed an agreement with the U.N. – World Health Organization (WHO), Medicines Patent Pool to allow pharmaceutical companies in numerous countries to manufacture molnupiravir. 


Under the terms of the agreement neither Merck, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics nor Emory University will receive royalties for molnupiravir over the duration of the current COVID health emergency.


Charles Gore, Executive Director of the Medicines Patent Pool welcomed the agreement, the first negotiated with a pharmaceutical company.  The WHO will issue an emergency use authorization after reviewing clinical trial data.


The agreement represents a step forward in making molnupiravir available to numerous nations, although licensing will not be offered to manufacturers in Brazil and China. Advocacy group Doctors Without Borders pointed to exclusions in the agreement that would limit general distribution.  Apparently, Emory University has the right to challenge patents despite the fact that development of the drug and the technology on which it is based was funded by U.S. federal grants exceeding $30 million.