Thailand deemed too rich to produce generic Molnupiravir

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Thailand has been deemed too rich to produce a generic version of the antiviral drug Molnupiravir that reduces the negative effects of Covid-19 infections. Merck, the producer of the drug, had reached an agreement to license the anti-virus drug to production companies in poor countries to help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the World Bank has classified Thailand as an upper-middle-income economy, richer than other neighboring ASEAN members like Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam. . As such, they are not eligible for the program to save money and produce Molnupiravir cheaply to treat Covid-19 patients nationwide.

Molnupiravir has been shown to help patients infected with Covid-19, by reducing the severity of symptoms, decreasing the rate of hospitalization and, most importantly, preventing many deaths from Covid-19.

A United Nations-approved nonprofit called the Medicine Patent Pool has entered into a deal with Merck to mediate patent licenses to companies in poor countries to produce inexpensive generics to help their families. citizens. Interest has been expressed by 50 manufacturers in countries considered to be low and middle income, eager to create generics of Molnupiravir.

But Thailand will have to buy the Covid-19 drug from Merck, a huge US pharmaceutical company, instead of being able to make cheaper knockoffs. The Philippines has also ordered Molnupiravir directly from Merck.

The Harvard School of Public Health reported that a full course of Molnupiravir costs less than US $ 18 to manufacture, or about 600 baht. The full course of treatment for one person lasts 5 days and totals 40 tablets, each tablet 200 milligrams, one patient taking 4 tablets twice a day.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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