An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir in development by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, can be seen in this undated photo. Reuters file photo

MANILA – The oral antiviral pill Molnupiravir, which has been requested for emergency use in the United States for the treatment of COVID-19, may soon be available in the Philippines, companies seeking to distribute.

Merck, which developed Molnupiravir, said Monday it has applied for emergency use authorization in the United States for its drug to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 patients. This would put it on track to become the first oral antiviral drug for the disease.

Philippine pharmaceutical company Faberco Life Sciences said it was appointed to distribute Molnupiravir in the Philippines by one of Merck’s manufacturing licensees.

Faberco said he has also partnered with RiteMed Philippines to distribute the oral anti-COVID drug to hospitals, medical facilities and treatment sites after the Philippine Food and Drug Administration grants permits. special compassionate care for the investigational drug.

“We are confident that through RiteMed’s distribution channels, Molnupiravir will reach healthcare facilities across the country more quickly, giving more Filipinos access to this vital drug as quickly as possible,” Kishore said. Hemlani, founder of Faberco.

The first batches of Molnupiravir could be available in the Philippines by next month, subject to regulatory approvals, Faberco said.

“This partnership with Faberco puts RiteMed in a good position to help more Filipinos survive the pandemic and aligns with our mission to provide access to essential medicines by partnering with doctors and healthcare facilities sharing the same ideas, ”said Jose Maria A. Ochave, President of RiteMed, said.

Molnupiravir reduced the rate of hospitalization and death by 50% in a trial of mild to moderately ill patients who had at least one risk factor for the disease, according to data released earlier this month, according to a Reuters report.

Mulnopiravir is expected to be effective against the different variants of COVID-19, Merck said, because it does not target the virus spike protein but the enzyme needed for the virus to copy itself.

US Food and Drug Administration clearance could help change the clinical management of COVID-19 because the pill can be taken at home.

Two public hospitals in the Philippines, including the Lung Center of the Philippines, participated in the global Phase 3 trials of Mulnopiravir.

Faberco said it will import Molnupiravir for hospitals and healthcare facilities that have received a PSC for Molnupiravir by the FDA for the treatment of mild to moderate COVIDs.

Provisional data on the drug’s effectiveness has sparked a rush between countries, including Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore, to sign a supply agreement with Merck.

Merck also has a contract with the US government to provide 1.7 million courses at a cost of $ 700 per course. Merck plans to produce 10 million treatment cycles by the end of 2021.

– With a report from Reuters

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