AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today applauded Merck and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) for their recent sublicensing agreements with 27 generic drug companies for the manufacturing of the oral COVID-19 antiviral medication molnupiravir, giving 105 low- and-middle-income countries (LMICs) access to the drug. AHF also urged Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to follow suit by sharing their COVID-19 vaccine know-how and technology that would allow LMICs to produce generic, lifesaving doses locally.
“We praised Merck last October for its voluntary licensing agreement with MPP. Their efforts are now coming to fruition with an affordable generic anti-COVID treatment that will be available in more than 100 lower-income countries,” said Dr. Jorge Saavedra, Executive Director of the AHF Institute for Global Public Health at the University of Miami. “Now, if some of this common sense and goodwill displayed by Merck would rub off on the big three vaccine makers, the world can begin to end the pandemic with sufficient vaccine access in all countries – not just those with wealth.”
India and South Africa led a World Trade Organization proposal to waive intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines in December 2020 that more than 120 countries also supported. So far, even with an immoral and glaring discrepancy in global vaccine access between rich and poorer countries, neither Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J have budged on granting access to their vaccine recipes or technologies.