Dr Andrew Hill of the University of Liverpool said: “If molnupiravir shows no benefit, it will be difficult for health services to justify the $5.5 billion spent on this drug worldwide.
A British clinical study found “no difference” between the antiviral drug molnupiravir (molnupiravir) from Merck against coronavirus and in a placebo, in terms of reducing hospital admissions due to Covid-19 during the wave of the Omicron variant.
The pill it has not shown that it can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death among adults at high risk for severe disease. Preliminary results from the study of more than 25,000 people showed that the pill may reduce the time it takes patients to recover, but not the likelihood that they will be hospitalized.
The study was led by Professor Chris Butler of the University of Oxford, according to the Financial Times. Butler said more analysis is needed to allow health authorities to decide how to use the pill, also known as Lagevrio, from now on.
Although the pill’s sales are estimated at about $5 billion, its critics say it has yet to prove it provides tangible benefits to patients. Initial data from a trial in 2021 had reported about a 50% reduction in the risk of hospitalization and death, a figure that had been revised down (to 30%) after more thorough analysis at a later stage.
Dr Andrew Hill of the University of Liverpool said: “If molnupiravir shows no benefit, it will be difficult for health services to justify the 5.5 billion dollars spent on this drug worldwide. We have seen a similar situation in the past with other Covid-19 drugs such as remdesivir. Initial results look encouraging, but larger clinical trials have shown no benefit.”
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