Merck expects $5B to $6B in sales for COVID-19 antiviral this year

Merck sold $952 million of its COVID-19 antiviral pill, molnupiravir, in the fourth quarter of 2021 and this year expects to sell an additional $5 billion to $6 billion worth, CNBC reported Feb. 3.

Three notes: 

1. Most of Merck and Ridgeback Therapeutics' sales for molnupiravir so far have been concentrated in the U.S., the U.K. and Japan. 

2. Merck has delivered 1.4 million courses of the pill to the U.S. since it was authorized in December. The drugmaker is on pace to fulfill its commitment of delivering an additional 3.1 million courses over the next few days. 

3. The FDA's authorization of molnupiravir was more limited than for Pfizer's antiviral Paxlovid. Molnupiravir is meant for adults who are at high risk of developing severe illness when alternative treatments are "not accessible or clinically appropriate." A final analysis showed the drug reduced the risk of hospitalization or death among high-risk patients by 30 percent. 


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