From October to November, 2021, the pharmaceutical firms Merck and Pfizer licensed their new COVID-19 oral antiviral medications to the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). In both cases, the drugs were licensed quickly, before they were launched, and the MPP then reached agreements with pharmaceutical firms across the globe (27 firms for Merck’s molnupiravir and 36 firms for Pfizer’s nirmatrelvir) to provide generic versions of these to roughly 100 low-income and middle-income countries. This Viewpoint examines the importance of these licences for the global production of, and access to, new medicines, during the pandemic and beyond.

Read the full article