Breakthrough: Merck will share intellectual property and know-how for Covid-19 pill

Today US pharmaceutical company Merck & Co (trade name MSD) announced that it will share its intellectual property and know-how with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) for the production of its Covid-19 pill. This is a major breakthrough in the quest for access to medical products against Covid-19. If the authorities approve this product, the MPP can grant sublicenses to other pharmaceutical companies so they too can produce the antiviral treatment. This will give 105 low- and middle-income countries accelerated access to this drug.

Ending the pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, Wemos and other civil society organisations have been advocating temporary lifting intellectual property rights and sharing know-how and technology to enable the production of Covid-19 treatments. This would ensure that they can be produced in sufficient amounts and at an affordable price for all countries. This is crucial in ending the pandemic.

Setting the example

Until today, pharmaceutical companies have largely kept their intellectual property and know-how for Covid-19 products within company walls. As a result, low- and middle-income countries in particular are still experiencing dire vaccine shortages. Merck is now the first company to share its intellectual property and know-how in the MPP. With this decision, the company will increase access to its antiviral treatment molnupiravir and set an example for other companies that develop vaccines, medicines or diagnostics against Covid-19.

Giant step in the right direction

Tom Buis, global health expert at Wemos: “The purpose of life-saving commodities is not to make huge profits, but to save lives. We are still in the midst of a global health crisis. To put a halt to its disastrous consequences, everyone in the world must have access to products against Covid-19. Merck’s sharing of its intellectual property and know-how is a giant step in the right direction.”

Merck will not charge fees to other companies producing their antiviral treatment thanks to the deal with the MPP, until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares an end to the pandemic.

Read the MPP press release for more information:

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