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REPORT: New oral medicine reduces COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths

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Medical research company Merck announced Friday that their investigational oral antiviral medicine reduced the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. In addition, it reduced deaths as well. Ridgeback Biotherapeutics teamed up on the study Now, the companies are seeking emergency use authorization in the United States.

Nearly 1,550 COVID positive patients were a part of the study. Every single one had at least one risk factor. Out of those, only 7.3% of those who received the medicine, molnupiravir, hospitalized themselves as a result of their illness. Meanwhile, out of the control group of the study, 14.1% either died or visited a hospital. After 29 days, eight people who did not receive the medicine died while not a single person who received it died.

Merk’s CEO and President Robert M. Davis hopes that this will ease the strain caused by the virus. “With these compelling results, we are optimistic that molnupiravir can become an important medicine as part of the global effort to fight the pandemic and will add to Merck’s unique legacy of bringing forward breakthroughs in infectious diseases when they are needed most,” Davis said.

Ridgeback Biotherapeutics CEO Wendy Holman was equally optimistic. “We are very encouraged by the results from the interim analysis and hope molnupiravir, if authorized for use, can make a profound impact in controlling the pandemic,” Holman said.

Should President Biden authorize molnupiravir it would be the first oral medicine to treat COVID-19.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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TN Republican introduces legislation to fight opioid shipments into U.S.

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Tennessee Republican Representative Diana Harshbarger is attempting to fight the opioid crisis and epidemic through new legislation. Introduced Friday, Harshbarger told the Daily Caller:

The Daily Caller first obtained a copy of the legislation, which addresses what Harshbarger calls a “loophole.” The legislation amends the Controlled Substances Act to specifically require registrants to investigate reports of suspicious orders of controlled substances and halt them if necessary. Under the version of the act currently in force, drug manufacturers and distributors are only required to report suspicious orders of opioids and other controlled substances to the DEA.

“Breaking the opioid epidemic’s stranglehold on our nation is one of my foremost priorities. In an effort to do so, my colleagues and I have identified a loophole that allows distributors to continue order fulfillment, even under suspicious circumstances.”

“My bill closes that loophole with the requirements and guardrails needed to ensure these addictive and potentially dangerous drugs do not fall into the wrong hands while the DEA investigates. The future of our nation depends on us solving the addiction crisis, and this is a step towards that outcome” Harshbarger continued.

The Daily Caller reports:

According to a congressional report released in September, the opioid crisis cost the U.S. $1.5 trillion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC says 93,331 people died from overdoses in the U.S. in 2020, the highest in 50 years. Opioid-related deaths made up nearly three-quarters of the total.

Pharmaceutical companies have been blamed for contributing to the opioid epidemic. The Department of Justice is currently suing the pharmaceutical company AmerisourceBergen over allegations the company failed to report suspicious orders of opioids to federal law enforcement.

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