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Coronavirus

Japan expects to approve Merck's COVID pill in December

First oral medication expected to work on omicron variant

Merck's pill molnupiravir has been shown in trials to reduce deaths and hospitalizations by 30% among mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan plans to approve Merck's coronavirus pill for sale by the end of this month through an expedited process for priority drug candidates, the regulators said Friday.

The Japanese arm of the U.S. drugmaker, MSD, applied the same day to the health ministry to manufacture and market the oral medication, molnupiravir.

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