Merck Covid Pill Set for Authorization Despite Concerns, MS Says
(Bloomberg) -- Merck & Co.’s Covid-19 pill will likely still get U.S. authorization despite disappointing efficacy data and concerns raised by regulators, Morgan Stanley analysts predicted.
Merck shares fell 3.8% Friday after the release of data showing molnupiravir was less effective than previously reported, and as the Food and Drug Administration raised concerns about its safety and long-term effectiveness.
“Given the unmet need, we continue to believe molnupiravir will be will be authorized,” analysts Matthew Harrison and Charlie Yang wrote in a note to clients.
While the pill data is a headwind, the safety concerns flagged by the FDA are largely in-line with expectations, they said, keeping an equalweight rating on the stock.
Merck’s shares are up about 1.5% this year versus a 16% gain for the S&P 500 Health Care Index. Several peers exposed to coronavirus protection and treatment gained on Friday amid concerns around the spread of the omicron variant.
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