PH to receive molnupiravir for 300,000 patients next month

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 27) — Hundreds of thousands of the antiviral pill molnupiravir will arrive in the country in November.

In a briefing Wednesday, MedEthix — the first local importer to secure a compassionate special permit (CSP) on behalf of the first four grantees for molnupiravir — said there would be enough doses for 300,000 patients coming in next month.

"This is the first shipment that is coming by November. And on the availability or the volume that we have...from our supplier, that will cover around 300,000 patients. That's the volume that we have placed in order," said MedEthix co-founder Monaliza Salian.

These will be imported under a CSP requested by four hospitals from the Food and Drug Administration last September.

The medicine is expected to cost around ₱100 to ₱150 per each. A five-day treatment would around 40 capsules.

READ: Four hospitals get special permit for molnupiravir to treat COVID-19 patients 

Earlier, MSD — the developer of molnupiravir — said clinical trials in the Philippines and other countries wrapped up after the initial study showed "stunning results." Locally, the drug was tested on 27 unvaccinated outpatients in two hospitals: the Lung Center of the Philippines and the Quirino Memorial Medical Center

The FDA said 31 hospitals and five pharmaceutical companies have been granted a CSP to use and import molnupiravir. A drug under a special permit didn't go through the rigorous checks by the FDA, and the doctor or hospital who applied for a CSP is responsible for the patients' safety.

Since molnupiravir has to be taken at the onset of COVID-19 infection, the FDA will let hospitals to stock up on their supplies based on the cap set in their special permits.

CNN Philippines' Carolyn Bonquin contributed to this report.