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Thailand Signs Deal for Merck Covid-19 Pill, Nears Agreement for Pfizer’s Drug

Thailand has finalized the procurement deal for a new coronavirus therapeutic drug from Merck & Co., placing an order for 50,000 courses of its as-yet-unapproved Molnupiravir pills.

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration is expected to Covid-19 drug next week, following an expected emergency-use authorization by the U.S. FDA.

The Ministry of Public Health officially signed the supply agreement with an authorized Merck importer for a total of 2 million pills or 50,000 courses.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said Thailand aims to gain access to effective Covid-19 treatment as quickly as possible.

Dr. Somsak Akksilp, director-general of the Department of Medical Services, said Thailand started negotiating the deal with authorized dealer MSD Thailand in July, before the drug’s Phase 3 study.

The procurement contract has been reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General and has been approved by the Cabinet to secure funding.

MSD Thailand is now expected to apply for regulatory authorization of the drug from the Thai Food and Drug Administration, after the expected approval of the drug from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration next week.

After receiving authorization, the company expects to deliver the first shipment to Thailand in the first quarter of next year.

Meanwhile, health authorities are now in negotiation with Pfizer Inc. to procure 50,000 courses, or 2 million pills, of Paxlovid drug, which is also pending emergency use authorization from the U.S. FDA.