Merck among other pharmaceutical companies pausing Russia investments

Merck announced it would send 135,000 courses of its COVID-19 tablet, molnupiravir, to Ukraine.

Merck and Co announced on Wednesday that it would not make any new investments in Russia but would continue to supply the country with life-saving medicines and vaccines. Merck joins a growing list of pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Novartis, and Abbvie Inc, that have halted or reduced their investments in Russia in the aftermath of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Western companies have been pressured to leave Russia, but the healthcare sector has remained unaffected because medications, medical gadgets, and equipment are deemed humanitarian necessities and are not subject to sanctions. Under a supply agreement with the Ukrainian government, Merck said it would send 135,000 courses of its COVID-19 tablet, molnupiravir.

The company does not have any research or production facilities in Russia, a company spokesperson for Merck has stated. Eli Lilly has said it will be stopping the exporting of medicines such as Cialis, a treatment for erectile dysfunction, while also suspending all investments, promotional activities, and new clinical trials in Russia. Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will provide humanitarian assistance to refugees in bordering countries, including hygiene kits, health packs, and medical supplies. It is stopping new enrolments in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, despite its commitment to supplying crucial health items to Russia. The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has decided to halt "all advertising and media efforts in Russia," as well as "any additional spending that is not tied to the supply of our vital medicines and vaccines."