The BioWorld Insider Podcast


Breakthrough medicines, billion-dollar deals, spectacular clinical successes and crushing failures all play a part in biopharma’s dynamic story. Developers make scientific advancements with the potential to change everything, only to face regulatory conundrums and ever-fluctuating markets. BioWorld tracks key events in the fast-moving sector every business day. Now, the BioWorld Insider podcast lets you hear directly from the movers and shakers whose collective work is changing how we all live. Join us each week for a new conversation.

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Merck’s new COVID-19 pill will save lives, but at what price?
Oct 18 2021
Merck’s new COVID-19 pill will save lives, but at what price?
A new pill, molnupiravir, from Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. and partner Merck & Co. could cut hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in half. The companies are already seeking emergency use authorization in the U.S. and global governments are pledging to buy big lots of the medicine, pending regulatory approvals.But some people are already crying foul over the proposed price, $712 for a treatment, which includes twice daily doses for five days – because the U.S. government helped pay for the research. Molnupiravir was invented at Emory University and had partial funding and support from the U.S. government.Joseph Allen, executive director of the Bayh-Dole Coalition, joined the BioWorld Insider Podcast this week to explain how this scientific discovery may have never had a chance to move out of the university onto pharmacy shelves without the government’s support of innovation. The cost of health care, including drugs, is an entirely separate topic and should be treated as such, he said. Allen explained that the Bayh-Dole Act, which then-Senator Joe Biden voted for in 1980, also has something called a march-in provision. In the absence of good-faith efforts being made to commercialize an invention discovered with government support, it enables the government to force licensing of the technology to another party. While some have argued the same mechanism could be used to set the price of federally funded medicines, Allen said that’s never been the law’s intention. However, the pricing saga plays out, the pill would be a far more convenient alternative to other currently used therapies which are injected.Listen to BioWorld Insider podcast to better understand the controversial story behind the story. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.