December 8, 2022

The yet-to-be-approved anti-viral pill molnupiravir still lacks emergency use authorization and no suggested retail price can be issued since it is still under study by regulators, a health official said.

In an online media forum, Department of Health Usec.Maria Rosario Vergeire said some hospitals had been granted compassionate special permit (CSP) to administer the pill that is deemed to cut the risk of hospitalization for adults with mild to moderate symptoms of the Covid-19.

Physicians and hospitals using molnupiravir under CSP are accountable for its outcome on the Covid-19 patients.

“Having said that, hindi pa rin tayo pwede makapag-issue ng SRP (suggested retail price) kasi pinag-aaralan pa ito,” Vergeire said.

“Kailangan lumabas muna ito sa Living Clinical Practice Guidelines ng DOH para mairekomenda at magkaroon ng SRP ang isang gamot.”

Since molnupiravir only has a CSP, the government cannot have a tripartite agreement with any entity, she said.

“Hindi pa natin ito pwede ipagbili o bumili tayo ng pangmalawakan dahil wala pa po siyang authorization to be used,” Vergeire said.

Molnupiravir was developed by Merck & Co., which said it is likely to be effective against all known coronavirus variants as it does not target the spike protein of the virus that differentiates the variants.

It comes in a 200 mg. capsule with a recommended regimen of 800 mg. to be taken twice daily for five days or as prescribed by the doctor.

In an online press conference, local importer MedEthix co-founder Monaliza Balnig Salian said the initial delivery of molnupiravir would cover about 300,000 patients.

Salian said it was found out that 81 percent of the 1,200 mild cases taking molnupiravir had negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) results on the fifth day of treatment in the clinical trials sponsored by Merck licensee Aurobindo Pharma in India.

Meanwhile, Jack Pharma, Inc. president Meneleo Hernandez said the market price of molnupiravir “will be established in early November and it will be quite affordable.”

Hernandez estimated the price at P100 to P130 per pill. – PNA