Locally produced Covid drug molnupiravir can cut prices up to 50%

As Philippine pharmaceutical firm Lloyd Laboratories Inc. (LLI) aims producing molnupiravir in the country, prices of this coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) drug could go down by 30 to 50 percent.

LLI Business Development director Christopher Bamba said retail prices of imported molnupiravir cost around PHP100 to PHP150 per 200-milligram capsule.

“For our pricing, we are usually 30 to 50 percent lower and this is our price strategy being a local manufacturer and a generic company,” Bamba said in a media interview Thursday.

If the local production will push through, prices of this medicine could be reduced to PHP50 to PHP75 per capsule.

LLI vice president for technical Dr. Chandra Shekhara Reddy Nagareddy said the company will bring down the price of locally manufactured molnupiravir as it has no obligation to pay any royalty for producing the medicine.

In October last year, Merck signed a royalty-free licensing deal for molnupiravir to make the Covid-19 pill accessible especially to poor countries.

Earlier, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director general Oscar Gutierrez said LLI applied for a certificate of product registration for locally manufactured molnupiravir last December 22.

Bamba added LLI will import the active pharmaceutical ingredients and the capsule mostly from India, but the manufacturing process of the molnupiravir will be done in its local facility.

“We have the entire process on how to manufacture this. This is not a finished capsule which we are importing. It is really considered as a local(ly) manufactured product,” he said.

Once production starts, LLI can produce at least one million capsules per batch, which takes about three to four days.

Bamba estimated that the country needs 3.6 million capsules of molnupiravir to cater the needs of at least 20 percent of the active Covid-19 cases as of January 11.

Molnupiravir is given to patients diagnosed with Covid-19 with mild to moderate cases, and being given within the third and fourth day of the infection.

Bamba said those Covid-19 patients with comorbidities should be prioritized in giving molnupiravir.

The FDA earlier reminded that this drug does not function as prophylaxis, or to prevent from getting Covid-19.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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