COVID-19 pill rollout stymied by shortages as omicron rages

  • FILE - This undated photo provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication molnupiravir. Pfizer's and Merck's COVID-19 pills that were supposed to be an important weapon against the pandemic in the U.S. are in short supply and have played little role in the fight against the omicron wave of infections. (Merck & Co. via AP, File)

  • FILE - This image provided by Pfizer shows the company's COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. Pfizer's and Merck's COVID-19 pills that were supposed to be an important weapon against the pandemic in the U.S. are in short supply and have played little role in the fight against the omicron wave of infections. (Pfizer via AP, File)

WASHINGTON — Two brand-new COVID-19 pills that were supposed to be an important weapon against the pandemic in the U.S. are in short supply and have played little role in the fight against the omicron wave of infections.