A pill to treat COVID-19 patients can now be distributed throughout Paraguay's conventional pharmaceutical network after two local laboratories were granted a registration license to manufacture Molnupiravir, the pill developed by Merck.
National Health Surveillance Directorate (DINAVISA) Chief María Antonieta Gamarra Tuesday announced the Quimfa and Indufar laboratories are now able to produce and distribute the drug.
“Registration has been granted. Last week they filed their request for prices that enables them to market the drug, and it was approved Friday and I believe that this week it will be available to customers.
The official also admitted there was a variation in price depending on the brand, because they are different laboratories and have different suppliers, Gamarra explained.
She also made it clear a doctor's prescription is required to purchase the pills, which are not a substitute for the vaccine, Gamarra stressed.
DINAVISA General Coordinator Jorge Iliou also explained that we have two registered products, one is a capsule and the other is a tablet.”
It comes in packages containing 40 units of either variant, Iliou said.
The official also admitted other pharmaceutical companies had filed for clearance to manufacture and distribute the drug. Molnupiravir was developed by Merck, Sharp and Dohme and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
Merck explained that in clinical trials, Molnupiravir was administered to 775 patients who had recently been infected with COVID-19 and 7.3% of those who took the pill were hospitalized, compared to 14.1% of those who were given a placebo.
The medical report also highlighted there were no fatalities among those who took Molnupiravir, while within the group of those treated with placebo, eight deaths had been recorded from COVID-19.