A course of Merck’s COVID-19 pill could cost more than $700

Merck’s (NYSE:MRK) oral drug molnupiravir (MK-4482) could be a COVID-19 game-changer, assuming it wins emergency use authorization.

The medicine could also be lucrative for Merck, assuming it finds widespread use.

Costing $712 for a treatment course, according to a contract obtained by Knowledge Ecology International, molnupiravir’s retail cost would be almost 40 times more than its production cost. It takes about $17.74 to produce a five-day course of the drug, according to an estimate from a pricing analysis from the Harvard School of Public Health and King’s College Hospital in London.

Knowledge Ecology International obtained the contract via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit targeting the HHS and the Army regarding U.S. government COVID-19 contracts.

Merck did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its pricing plans related to the drug.

In initial contracts with the U.S., the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has a price tag of $1…

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