Merck To Sell COVID Pill For 40 Times What It Costs To Make

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In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • Merck has submitted a request for emergency use authorization of their new COVID treatment.

    • The treatment costs 40 times less than Merck is selling it for.

    • The US taxpayer will foot the bill.

    • Other countries are charging about 35 times less for the drug than Merck.

  • Reflect On:
    • Is Big Pharma price gouging citizens during a time where treatment could help millions of people?

    • Is it possible Big Pharma influenced media and government to cast doubt on the minutely profitable Ivermectin drug while they worked to create this new massively profitable drug?

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Both Merck and Pfizer have been developing an antiviral treatment aimed at combatting COVID-19. This week, Merck asked the Food And Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of their new drug intended to treat mild to moderate COVID cases.

Merck’s pill is an antiviral that can be taken at home by patients. It’s designed to interfere with viral replication, reduce symptoms, and increase recovery time – the exact features doctors, patients, and scientists around the world are claiming Ivermectin is already providing COVID patients.

Merck’s case is that at-home treatment for these mild and moderate COVID cases will reduce the chances of overfilling ICU’s, and ease up pressures on healthcare workers. Since vaccine mandates, an already stressed out healthcare force has come under even more stress as millions of healthcare workers globally have refused vaccination and are being fired or put on leave.

What’s causing debate and shock amongst people is the price Merck is intending to charge the US tax payer, through the government, $700 per treatment round even though the cost to produce it is only about $17 per treatment.

Merck’s drug, molnupiravir, is also being manufactured in India where the total cost is about $2.50 per treatment. This puts the total price per treatment at around $20. To be clear, this includes the cost of manufacturing and a profit for all involved. This is 35 times less than Merk’s tax payer asking price.

While Merck and other drug companies will make the case that their drug costs many hours of research and development to produce, it was the tax payer who paid for that to begin with as molnupiravir was discovered at Emory university in the US, which is supported by federal research dollars.

Interestingly, molnupiravir was being developed to treat Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus in horses and humans. In a sense, it’s a horse medication, much like the media claims Ivermectin is.

The reason pharmaceutical companies in the West and parts of Europe can mark up their drugs so much is due to the level of regulation that exists there vs in countries like China or India. In China and India, drug prices are set by the manufacturing price, plus a modest market profit for suppliers and pharmaceutical wholesalers and retailers.

If the government allows Merck to charge this amount, and agrees to use taxpayer dollars to support Big Pharma, treating 100 million Americans over the next two or three years with Merck’s drug will cost taxpayers $700 billion, but only $2 billion if it were $20 as in India and China.

Discussion

Big Pharma lobby’s the government twice as much as any other industry, this includes Big Oil. One could argue Big Pharma has considerable pull on public policy as a result. Given that Big Pharma spends 75% (over $4.5 billion) of its ad spend on TV networks in the US, TV news is essentially receiving much funding from the pharmaceutical industry.

When considering Big Pharma has massive influence over public policy, and can virtually control most of media messaging through the funding of it, can the average citizen truly trust that government and media are doing what’s best for the people as opposed to what’s best for Big Pharma? What are the implications of this conflict of interest taking place?

New and old therapeutic treatments represent a life saving opportunity for some people. Is it right to price gouge citizens as a result?

The last thing I want to leave you to consider and critique is this. Imagine there was a drug that was very cheap to produce and readily available around the world. The scientists who discovered this drug won a Nobel Peace prize as the drug treated parasitic and viral infections in humans very well. The drug has also been administered billions of times to humans.

The drug is known to be safe, and there’s years of use to show that. During a pandemic, since this drug is an antiviral, doctors begin exploring the possibility of its use in treating COVID. They begin to report it works, perhaps not every time, but that it speeds up recovery and reduces symptoms.

As a citizen, would you want to use this drug? Know about it? Talk about it?

The reality is, the drug I mentioned above exists, it’s called Ivermectin but it is off patent meaning any drug company can make it, which drives the price down immensely.

With all that said, now pretend you are a pharmaceutical company.

Would you consider using your contacts at government and your power over media to create a massive propaganda campaign around how bad and dangerous Ivermectin is, all while creating a drug that does almost the same thing and then charge citizens $700 a treatment?

Consider this, because it’s very likely exactly what’s happening.

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