Home News Covid-19: Denmark becomes first EU country to allow Merck treatment

Covid-19: Denmark becomes first EU country to allow Merck treatment


Marketed under the name Lagevrio, monulpiravir, an anti-Covid treatment from the Merck laboratory, was already authorized in the United Kingdom and about to be in the United States. This Thursday, December 16, it also makes its entry into the EU since Denmark has decided to approve it.

This drug, which comes in the form of tablets, received the green light from the European regulator in mid-November, for emergency use, before obtaining its formal marketing authorization. Intended for at-risk patients with symptoms of Covid-19, Lagevrio has so far been shown to be less effective than the interim results of the clinical trial had suggested.

According to the full study, published on November 26, the Merck pill indeed reduced by 30% – and not by half as initially announced – the rate of hospitalization and death in patients who took it soon after. the infection. But Denmark believes that the benefits of treatment with tablets “outweigh the disadvantages for patients who are at greatest risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19”.

The National Health Agency (SST) says it is “fully aware that this is a new and unapproved treatment on which we do not yet have a lot of knowledge”. Also, the effects of the drug will be closely monitored, assures Kirstine Moll Harboe, one of the officials.

The Omicron variant soon to dominate

Denmark is currently going through a record epidemic wave, particularly linked to an outbreak of the new variant Omicron, which is expected to become dominant in Copenhagen this week. The daily number of new cases was higher than ever on Wednesday, December 15, at 8,770 for 5.8 million inhabitants.

Also, the authorities hope that Lagevrio “will help reduce the number of hospitalizations in patients at high risk of serious illness”. Currently, 508 people are hospitalized in Denmark, 66 of them in intensive care.

Other countries plan to use this treatment, such as Norway which signed a bilateral agreement with Merck on Wednesday to ensure rapid deliveries of the drug. For its part, France refused to authorize this pill on December 9, not deeming it effective enough.