So what if I were to tell you that Merck is currently facing similar public controversy surrounding a recent drug of theirs that is hitting the market?
Yes, so considering the topic of today’s case discussion it felt important to highlight the push back the pharmaceutical company Merck is facing regarding their antiviral pill designed to fight against Covid-19.
Referencing the NPR article that outlines the agreement Merck has reached with the WHO in terms of who will have the manufacturing rights for their newly developed pill that has been shown to cut deaths and hospitalization from Covid-19 by half. Under the pact Merck has agreed to, any qualified pharmaceutical company is allowed to manufacture the pill which is designed to keep costs low. However, the agreement is only applying to low and middle-income countries. This is concerning that Merck is selling the pill at about 40 times the cost it takes to make it. With this in mind and how the U.S. government has subsidized some of the research it took to develop the drug, do you think it is fair that American taxpayers are having to pay such a substantial markup?
I think that situations like these are ones that end up doing a disservice to the U.S. government’s funding of medical research. The aim of funding is meant for it to be an investment for the public but when taxpayers are being charged on both sides, it takes the benefits of the advancement away.