Anti-COVID-19 pill molnupiravir to arrive in PH in November

Published October 27, 2021, 12:50 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

The first oral coronavirus disease (COVID-19) antiviral drug, Molnupiravir, will be available in the country next month, local importer MedEthix announced on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Screenshot from MedEthix’s press conference on Tuesday, Oct. 27 (HANDOUT/ MANILA BULLETIN)

During a press conference, MedEthix co-founder Monaliza Balnig Salian said the initial delivery will cover about 300,000 patients.

She said it will be imported under a Compassionate Special Permit (CSP) issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last September.

“Living our principle to heal always and in all ways, we at MedEthix are actively looking for ways to help Filipinos have a better chance at fighting the virus. So, we took the chance to apply for a CSP once MSD announced promising initial clinical results for Molnupiravir,” Salian said.

Molnupiravir, which was originally developed to treat influenza, can be used to treat COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate infections.

She said the pill works by introducing copying errors during viral RNA replication.

In the clinical trials sponsored by MSD licensee Aurobindo Pharma in India, it was found out that 81 percent of the 1,200 mild cases taking molnupiravir had negative RT-PCR results on the fifth day of treatment, she said.

“We are honored to bring this treatment drug to the country as early as November and we assure Filipinos that we are going to offer the same level of quality as with our other products and services,” Salian said.

JackPharma Inc. President Meneleo Hernandez, meanwhile, said the market price of molnupiravir will be established in early November and assured it will be “quite affordable.”

He said the estimated price per molnupiravir pill is estimated at P100 to P130.

Molnupiravir comes in a 200mg capsule with a recommended regimen of 800mg to be taken twice daily for five days or as prescribed by doctor. It also comes in a bottle of 40 capsules, which is the entire dose.

MedEthix and JackPharma are set to further discuss the use of molnupiravir through meetings and webinars with healthcare frontliners in November.