Senatorial bet seeks price cap on Covid-19 pills

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

February 18, 2022, 10:40 am

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – Partido Reporma senatorial candidate Dr. Minguita Padilla urged the government to put a cap on the price of anti-coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) drug molnupiravir and educate the public more about its proper use to prevent them from buying counterfeit anti-Covid-19 pills.

Padilla was reacting to reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was clamping down on fake Covid-19 medicines being sold in neighborhood stores.

“At present the price of 40 tablets of molnupiravir, the number needed for a complete course, ranges from PHP6,000 to PHP13,000, depending on which hospital sells it. This can be prohibitive to most patients,” she said in a statement.

The tablets were said to cost only PHP100 to PHP150 each, or around PHP4,000 to PHP6,000 a bottle, Padilla said.

“It would be ideal if more LGUs (local government units) could be like Manila, where patients who present an abstract and prescription from a physician can avail of the medicine for free. But not all LGUs can do that,” she said.

She also warned the public on the dangers of buying fake or unregulated medicines.

“Foremost of which is that they may not contain the real medicine, and so will not result in treating the patient suffering from Covid-19, or it may be overdosed or underdosed,” she added.

Padilla also noted that if the medicine sold outside of pharmacies and hospitals “is smuggled through luggage, it is not transported properly with the correct temperature, these are all dangerous for patients.”

She also reminded the public that molnupiravir is not for all patients suffering from Covid-19.

“(The pill) is recommended to be taken within the first five days of symptoms and confirmation of Covid-19, by persons who are suffering from mild to moderate Covid-19, and who have at least one comorbidity that puts them at higher risk of getting serious Covid,” Padilla added.

She said these persons include those with diabetes, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and those undergoing chemotherapy, among others.

“Those who have mild disease, (are) fully vaccinated, and who don’t have any comorbidities don’t have to take molnupiravir. All medicines, no matter how good and useful, have potential side effects. Hence it should be prescribed by a doctor,” Padilla said.

Padilla, an ophthalmologist, is one of three Partido Reporma candidates for the Senate, along with former national police chief Guillermo Eleazar and former Makati congressman Monsour Del Rosario. (PNA)