Vietnam says Pfizer, MSD licenses its companies to manufacture COVID-19 pills

South Korean tourists arrive at a hotel on Phu Quoc island, one of the first visitors in nearly two years, as the country tries to revive its pandemic-ravaged tourism economy, in Vietnam, Nov. 20, 2021. VINPEARL /Handout via REUTERS

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HANOI, Nov. 26 (Reuters) – Drugmakers Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and MSD, known as Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) in North America, have agreed to license companies in Vietnam to manufacture COVID-19 treatment pills, Vietnam’s health ministry said Friday.

The companies have sent letters of approval to Vietnam’s Drug Administration, the ministry said in a statement, for the production of Molnupiravir and Paxlovid pills.

Pfizer said last week it would allow generic manufacturers to supply its experimental COVID-19 antiviral pill to 95 low- and middle-income countries through a voluntary license agreement with the international public health group Medicines Patent Pool (MPP).

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Pfizer and MSD did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment.

The ministry said five local pharmaceutical companies have expressed interest in obtaining the license to manufacture Molnupiravir.

Vietnam has so far registered 1.1 million COVID-19 infections and 24,000 deaths. More than 47% of the population of 98 million people has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The ministry said Vietnam has so far used 250,000 doses of Molnupiravir, with 72%-93% of recipients recovering after five days.

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Editing by Martin Petty

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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