France rejects 1,000s of doses of Covid anti-viral treatment — Analysis
France has canceled its order for Merck’s new Covid-19 antiviral treatment molnupiravir due to its weak performance in trials, and ordered Pfizer’s Paxlovid instead, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Wednesday.
“The order was cancelled because of molnupiravir.” Veran told BFMTV, explaining that the latest trial results of Merck’s treatment were “It is not good.” The cancellation of the 50,000 doses of the drug has incurred no costs to France, he stressed.
Instead of Merck’s pills, France has ordered a competing treatment, Pfizer’s Paxlovid, which Veran described as “Very promising” in reducing the risk of developing serious forms of Covid-19. Minister said the drug is currently awaiting approval from the European Medicines Agency and would be available for purchase by January 31.
The number of Paxlovid doses ordered by him was not specified.
Merck previously reported that their pills lower the chance of death and hospitalization by 30%. However, this is significantly less than the Pfizer 89% reduction.
France was the first to cancel its Merck order. The UK, Germany and other countries have purchased doses of this drug.