Merck in licensing deals with 5 Indian generic drug makers to expand access to COVID-19 therapy

Merck said Tuesday it has entered voluntary licensing agreements with five Indian generic drug makers to expand access to molnupiravir, an investigational oral antiviral agent currently being studied in a Phase 3 trial for the treatment of non-hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19. “The scale of human suffering in India at this moment is devastating, and it is clear that more must be done to help alleviate it,” Merck Chief Executive Kenneth C. Frazier said in a statement. The agreements are with Limited, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, Emcure Pharmaceuticals Limited, Hetero Labs Limited and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, five companies with experience as major suppliers to global procurers. Merck will also donate more than $5 million worth of oxygen-production equipment, masks, hand sanitizers and financial aid to support relief efforts in India. Shares were flat premarket and are down 5% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 11.5%.

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