First 40,000 capsules of anti-Covid drug, Molnupiravir delivered to Manila

In this undated file image provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication, molnupiravir. (Merck & Co. via AP, File)

The city government of Manila received this week the first batch of Molnupiravir, considered a game-changing anti-Covid drug.

Around 40,000 capsules of Molnupiravir was delivered to the Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila Monday where there is sufficient storage space for the antiviral drug that is said to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death of Covid patients by 50 percent.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Tuesday formally handed several boxes of Molnupiravir to the Manila Covid 19 Field Hospital in Luneta as a symbolic gesture that mild to moderate Covid patients can be assured of adequate treatment with the new wonder drug.

“We should always be ahead of Covid infections. We were the first to purchase Remdesivir and Tocilizumab. And now this wonder drug Molnupiravir, tayo din ang naunang bumili. I will continue to listen to science. I always listen to Doc Willie Ong when it comes to anti-covid drugs,” Moreno said in his speech.

The Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer said the 40,000 capsules of Molnupiravir will go a long way in saving lives not only of Manila residents but also Covid-19 patients from other cities, municipalities, and provinces.

“Iisang bangka tayo. Dito sa Maynila, welcome ang lahat. Sa abot ng aming makakaya, handa kaming tumulong sa ibang nangangailangan ng mga life-saving drugs gaya ng Remdisivir at Tocilizumab na maraming natulungan sa ibang lugar sa labas ng syudad,” said Moreno.

Moreno’s running mate, Dr. Willie Ong was the first to relay to the Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer about the anti-Covid wonder drug Molnupiravir which he described as “beneficial” and “life-saving.”

In his short speech, Ong revealed that there are also two new anti-Covid drugs undergoing clinical trials by Pfizer.  “These are Plasmovid and Retonovir which are said to be stronger in terms of efficacy in saving the lives of Covid-infected patients,” he said.

In the contract signed by the Manila government last October, each capsule of Molnupiravir will cost P87.50, much lower than the cost of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab. It will be given twice a day, for five days, to Covid patients with mild and moderate symptoms in seven hospitals, including the Sta. Ana Hospital.

Molnupiravir is the first oral antiviral drug that will prevent mild to moderate cases of Covid-19 from progressing into a severe disease that needs hospitalization.

Developed by Merck & Co, Inc, (MSD), it has given the manufacturing rights to eight top generic manufacturers in the world for low and middle-income countries, including Faberco’s manufacturer, Aurobindo Pharma Ltd.

Faberco has currently made Molnupiravir (Molnarz) available in the Philippines through Compassionate Special Permit (CSP) issued by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.

Faberco Life Sciences Inc, in partnership with RiteMed, Inc. has brought in COVID-19 drug Molnupiravir (Molnarz) to the country Nov. 17, making the Philippines the first country in Southeast Asia to have access to this first-ever COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment.

Though not yet available commercially, Faberco, has chosen RiteMed Philippines, Inc. to distribute Molnupiravir (Molnarz) to the private sector including hospitals, medical institutions, and treatment sites under compassionate use which allow institutions to procure and distribute products under study, or those awaiting approval for immediate use in emergency situations.

Faberco expects the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve its Emergency Use Application (EUA) application for the use of Molnupiravir in the country after the oral treatment received EUA approval in the UK few weeks ago.

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