Low-cost oral Covid-19 medication to be secured for low and middle-income countries

Manufacturing companies span 11 countries, including Egypt, Jordan, India and Kenya

South Korea began prescribing and administering the oral Covid-19 medication from January 14. EPA
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Twenty seven generic manufacturing companies have signed agreements with Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), a UN-backed public health organisation, to produce low-cost versions of Covid-19 antiviral medication for 105 low and middle-income countries, a statement by MPP says.

MPP was founded in 2010 by Unitaid, a global health initiative.

The non-exclusive sublicences allow generic manufacturers to produce the raw ingredients for molnupiravir and/or the finished drug itself.

“We are encouraged by the large number of new and existing partners that have moved quickly to secure a sublicence for molnupiravir through MPP,” said Charles Gore, MPP executive director.

The agreements are the result of the voluntary licencing deal signed by MPP and MSD, a trade name of Merck & Co, in October to facilitate affordable global access for molnupiravir that MSD is developing in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

The manufacturers span 11 countries: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea and Vietnam.

“This is a critical step toward ensuring global access to an urgently needed COVID-19 treatment and we are confident that, as manufacturers are working closely with regulatory authorities, the anticipated treatments will be rapidly available in LMICs,” Mr Gore said.

Updated: January 20, 2022, 1:04 PM