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Merck & Co., Inc. announced it formally filed an application for emergency use approval to get its COVID-19 pill treatment, Molnupiravir, approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Potential approval could take weeks or even months. And it’s unclear whether it would be given to all patients who have an increased risk of severe COVID-19.

“I suspect this would also be helpful for people with breakthrough infections. That’s not who they studied,” Dr. Whyte said.

He also pointed out that the pill is a treatment for those already diagnosed with mild to moderate cases. The pill is estimated to prevent about 50-percent of hospitalizations, but it is not a substitute for the COVID-19 vaccine and is not designed to prevent the virus.

Dr. Whyte said it will cost $700, which is a lot less than infusion treatments. Currently, the federal government pays for infusion treatments like monoclonal antibodies. It is unclear whether all insurances would pay for Molnupiravir.

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