If local companies can make COVID pills, gov’t open to buying those


After stating that the government was eyeing pills to help treat patients infected with the disease COVID-19 earlier in the week, Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony says that the local authorities are open to buying those pills from local manufacturers.

Two COVID-19 antiviral pills have been created; these are the Molnupiravir, developed by US-based Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, and the Paxlovid pill created by Pfizer Inc.

Pfizer said that it will allow generic manufacturers to supply its pill to 95 low- and middle-income countries through a licensing agreement with a United Nations-backed group. Al Jazeera news reported that most of the countries included in the deal are in Africa and Asia, covering about 53 percent of the world’s population.

During his COVID-19 update on Thursday, Dr. Anthony said that Guyana does not have the capacity to manufacture pharmaceuticals in the public sector. But, he noted that there are private companies that can do so.

“So, if those companies work with the World Health Organization (WHO)’s patent office and are able to bring the medicine to Guyana it is something we will want to procure,” the Health Minister said.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony

He, however, acknowledged that local companies would have to make a sizable investment if they are interested in producing the generic (or brand-less) form of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill.

Even if local companies are unable to produce this drug, the Health Minister said that Guyana will be seeking to procure the medication from other countries as soon as it is made available and licenced for use. These pills, he explained, will add to the medication regimen already being used to treat patients experiencing the more severe symptoms of COVID-19.

It is important to note that Britain became the first country to approve one of the potentially game-changing pills earlier this month, according to a Reuters report. The country approved the molnupiravir COVID-19 pill developed by US-based Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Meanwhile, earlier in November as well, Pfizer Inc stated that its experimental antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 cut the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of severe disease by 89 per cent. The pill is called Paxlovid and the company is hopeful of US approval by the end of year.

Dr. Anthony previously explained that these COVID-19 pills help to “interrupt” the reproduction of the virus when it infects an individual. Eventually, the virus would be unable to replicate itself and grow weak until it stops infecting an individual. The disease COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus.

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