Merck’s new anti-COVID pill


Weiju Wang, Reporter

On Oct. 11, drug manufacturer Merck announced that they had developed an anti-COVID pill that, if approved by the Food and Drug Administration, would be the only approved COVID-19 treatment that does not require an IV or injection. The pill is different from vaccines in that it would be a treatment rather than a prevention, but it would nevertheless play a key role in preventing the spread of and reducing deaths from COVID.

If the pills are approved, the US government will buy enough pills for 1.7 million people. The current price per treatment for the taxpayer is $700, which is more expensive than many pills used to cure other viruses; however, this is only a tentative price that was set before Merck had any data to base their prices on.

While Americans await potential approval for the pill by the FDA on Nov. 30, the United Kingdom has already approved the pill for use for those with COVID and at least one risk factor. As much of Europe recedes back into lockdowns, many other Western countries, such as Canada, are also seeking approval for the drug. The pill has also been licensed to be sold by generic drugmakers in low-income countries.