Merck’s COVID-19 pill shows lower effectiveness in updated data – .

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Nov. 26 (Reuters) – Merck & Co said on Friday that updated data from its study of its experimental COVID-19 pill showed the drug was less effective in reducing hospitalizations and deaths than previously reported.

The drugmaker said its pill has shown a 30% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths, based on data from more than 1,400 patients. As of October, its data showed about 50% effectiveness, based on data from 775 patients.

Shares of Merck fell 3% to $ 79.80 in pre-market trading, amid falling markets at large.

The company filed for approval in the United States for the drug molnupiravir on October 11, following provisional data.

Merck said on Friday that molnupiravir data, developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, had been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ahead of a meeting of its expert advisers on Tuesday.

FDA scientists are expected to release their briefing materials before the meeting as early as Friday.

The panel is expected to vote on whether to recommend that the agency authorize oral capsules for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults at risk of serious illness.

A planned interim analysis of data last month showed that 7.3% of people who received molnupiravir twice a day for five days were hospitalized and none had died 29 days after treatment. This compares to a hospitalization rate of 14.1% for patients on placebo.

In the updated data, 6.8% of people who received molnupiravir were hospitalized and one person died, while the other placebo group had a hospitalization rate of 9.7%. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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