France Scraps Order for Merck Antiviral Pill, Looks to Pfizer
(Bloomberg) -- France canceled an order for Merck & Co.’s antiviral pill on disappointing test results and is now counting on a treatment from Pfizer Inc., according to the country’s health minister.
“We had to cancel because the last studies weren’t good,” Olivier Veran said Wednesday in an interview on BFM TV. “It cost us nothing.”
Pfizer’s pill, Paxlovid, and Merck’s molnupiravir are intended for higher-risk people who test positive for the coronavirus. Veran had initially expressed optimism about the Merck drug. The treatments, in which patients take pills at home over several days, could ease the burden on stretched hospitals as infections are soaring in the U.S. and Europe.
“There is one treatment that is on the verge of being approved in January and that’s called Paxlovid sold by Pfizer,” Veran said. “That is a treatment that is extremely promising to reduce the risks of serious cases. It’s efficient and we have bought some so we can have it at the end of January.”
Asked how the drug would be distributed, Veran said that would be determined next month.
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