In response to Merck’s announcement that it has granted a license for its promising COVID-19 pill to the Medicines Patent Pool, Robbie Silverman, Oxfam America’s Senior Manager for Private Sector Engagement, made the following statement:
“Merck’s move to license molnupiravir is welcome as it could indeed mean increased access to its promising COVID-19 drug in the poorest countries in the world. But this agreement still locks out access from a number of middle-income countries around the world, like large parts of Latin America, where millions of the world's poorest people live.
“A corporation should never decide who should live and who should die. Merck’s move is yet another reminder that we need global solutions to a global pandemic. While this step will save lives, many more lives would be saved if Merck would issue a worldwide license for molnupiravir.
“Merck, as well as Pfizer and Moderna, must immediately share their life-saving technologies. It is high time for governments to step up by waiving intellectual property protections and mandating corporations share their technology that the public helped to fund. We need a comprehensive TRIPS waiver that covers vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics as the fastest way to saving the most lives and ending the pandemic as soon as possible.”