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Manila orders 40K capsules of anti-COVID medication molnupiravir

The Manila City has ordered at least 40,000 capsules of oral COVID-19 medication molnupiravir, while still waiting for the drug to get an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In a statement, the city government said it placed advance orders of the anti-COVID pill based on the information provided by Dr. Willie Ong, the running mate of Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.

Ong urged the national government to place advance orders for molnupiravir for its “beneficial and life saving” cause.

The European Medicines agency earlier said it had started a review of an oral COVID-19 medication from the US pharmaceutical firm Merck, raising hopes for an easy-to-administer treatment to reduce serious or deadly cases.

The move, which could eventually lead to authorization on the European market, comes two weeks after Merck applied for emergency use in the US of the anti-COVID drug.

Meanwhile, Moreno also called to prioritize the procurement of life-saving drugs including remdesivir, which was reportedly used for moderate to severe COVID-19 patients, and tocilizumab for severe to critical patients.

“So, kung ito 'yung mga bagay na makabubuhay sa tao, makapagdudugtong ng buhay ng tao, then I will not spend P4 billion for face shields. That’s P4 billion put to waste, wala namang science,” Moreno said in a television interview Tuesday.

(So, if these are the things that can make a person alive, can extend a person's life, then I will not spend P4 billion for face shields. That’s P4 billion put to waste, there is no science.)

In the contract signed by the Manila government, each capsule of molnupiravir will cost P87.50, much lower than the cost of remdesivir and tocilizumab.

The Manila government said it will be given twice a day, for five days, to COVID-19 patients with mild and moderate symptoms in seven hospitals, including the Sta. Ana Hospital.

The Department of Health (DOH), however, noted that it will have to wait for molnupiravir to get an EUA from the US FDA before the government places an order.

“Applying for a compassionate use special permit is permitted because the doctor who applied for it is taking all the responsibility in administering the drug,” FDA Director General Eric Domingo said in a statement.—Richa Noriega/AOL, GMA News