The first shipment of breakthrough COVID-19 pill molnupiravir arrived in the Philippines on Wednesday November 17, through a partnership between MedEthix, a pharmaceutical importer and distributor, and JackPharma, a pharmaceutical distribution company.
Molnupiravir was imported to the Philippines through compassionate use permits (CSP) granted to at least 31 hospitals.
The shipment was supplied by Aurobindo Pharma, an Indian pharma manufacturer licensed by Merck & Company to supply the drug to low and middle income countries. The Philippines was the first country in Southeast Asia to receive its supply of molnupiravir and was available to the public beginning Wednesday.
Molnupiravir, which was developed by Merck & Company, is lauded for being able to halve the chances of dying or being hospitalized for people most vulnerable to contracting severe COVID-19. It would be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19 if it gets authorized.
On Thursday, November 17, Food and Drug Administration chief Eric Domingo said that they received application for emergency use authorization of the antiviral drug, adding that it was undergoing evalation.
Health officials have said that the government could not procure the antiviral drug until it gets regulatory approval. Although, in late October, MedEthix said it would import 300,000 courses of molnupiravir for COVID-19 patients in four hospitals.
Each pill is estimated to cost P100 to P150, said Meneleo Hernandez, president of pharmaceutical firm JackPharma, which will distribute the drug locally. – Rappler.com