Merck Makes Huge Money Off Of Molnupiravir Despite Being Unable To Prove Its Effectiveness

Ephrom Josine
4 min readOct 9, 2021


At this point, after already writing two articles on Molnupiravir — Merck’s new drug to treat COVID-19 — you would think everything that needs to be said would have been said. However, if the absurdly of our current era has taught us anything, it’s that some stories — no matter how bad they start — keep getting worse the more you look into them.

On 10/7/2021, the same day I published my article debunking his article on Merck’s new drug, Matt Taibbi published an article titled “The Cult Of The Vaccine,” which set to argue that everyone opposed to Molnupiravir is actually just dogmatically in favor of the COVID-19 vaccine:

Bloomberg’s morose “No, the Merck pill won’t end the pandemic” was released on October 2nd, i.e. one whole day after the first encouraging news of a possible auxiliary treatment whose most ardent supporters never claimed would end the pandemic. This article said the pill might be cause to celebrate, but warned its emergence “shouldn’t be cause for complacency when it comes to the most effective tool to end this pandemic: vaccines.”

Well, yeah. Vaccines can stop the illness from spreading from person to person through killing the virus before it has a chance to incubate, oral medication cannot. This means relying too much on oral medication could easily result in the virus mutating into something that’s resistant to the current oral treatment. (You might know this as exactly what is currently happening with bacteria treated with antibiotics as well as with certain viruses like HIV.)

However, I want to go back to Taibbi’s first article real quick. Specifically, I want to talk about the part where he says Merck’s drug must be good, because it’s causing big pharmaceutical companies — nobody tell him Merck is a big pharmaceutical company — to lose money:

Declines in stock market prices early in the week even appeared attributed to the drug’s arrival, as investors whispered fears that a pill making a return to normal life possible might lead to imminent lessening of emergency support from the Federal Reserve, which of course would be a catastrophe for Wall Street. Modern America in a nutshell: if you want to identify truly good news, check if it triggers panic-selling.

Here’s a fact about Merck that might make Taibbi question his support, as reported by Children's Health Defense on 10/7/2021:

The New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant Merck is facing accusations of price gouging after it charged the U.S. over $700 per patient for a taxpayer-funded coronavirus treatment that, according to research, costs just $17.74 to produce.

Oh, this is something Taibbi himself acknowledges, I should note:

Although a five-day course reportedly only costs $17.74 to make, the Biden administration will be spending $712 a pop for enough pills to treat 1.7 million Covid-19 patients.

So a five-day course of this drug would result a profit of $694.26 for Merck. If this drug was then given to 1.7 million people, that would be a profit of $1,180,242,000. Basically, Taibbi is arguing that the media is going all out to stop the enrichment of a slightly different pharmaceutic giant than the one who would be rich otherwise.

That’s the thing that’s most notable about this situation: According to the anti-vaccine crowd, the vaccine is untested and only exists to enrich massive pharmaceutical companies — so we all have to take an untested drug created by one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in existence. Except there’s one notable difference, vaccines are based on long established science while this oral antiviral is not.

In response to my first article on the Merck drug, a Medium user named Joe Fisk wrote:

Were you see the word “molnupiravir” in this article substitute it for the word “vaccine”. Same story.

The first vaccine ever was created in 1798, meanwhile, there has never been an oral antiviral that has cured a virus throughout all of human history. The fact is, no matter what you think of the COVID-19 vaccine, the science behind it did not literally come out of nowhere — the science behind the Merck drug did.

Recently, two drug makers in India tried to test Molnupiravir, and it was so ineffective they had to end their trails early:

The two companies separately sought permission to end trials in the case of moderate COVID-19 patients after having submitted interim clinical trial data around the effectiveness of the drug in treating this category of patients, the committee disclosed, throwing into question the efficacy of the experimental drug in improving outcomes for patients with moderate cases of COVID-19.

This raises another question: The study Merck used to justify use of Molnupiravir as a COVID-19 treatment also had to end early. At the time, the FDA said it was because the drug was so effective it just had to be on the market then and now. Yet, the very first attempt to replicate Merck’s study had to end early — but for the exact opposite reason. Was there a different reason as to why the Merck drug had to end testing early that we’re not being told?

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Ephrom Josine

Political Commentator; Follow My Twitter: @EphromJosine1