Department of Health to purchase COVID-19 drugs from Pfizer and AstraZeneca

Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali has revealed that the Ministry of Health (MoH) will readjust its purchase of the antiviral pill molnupiravir COVID-19 from Merck & Co as it intends to procure new treatments from AstraZeneca and Pfizer, using a total allocation of RM 172 million.

The ministry had previously announced that it had signed a letter of commitment to purchase 150,000 courses of molnupiravir from Merck, but Azmi said at the time it was the only drug announced by the UK Regulatory Agency. drugs and health products as an antiviral, especially for the treatment of COVID-19.

[Original photo: Anna Shvets/Pexels]

Pfizer recently published the results of clinical trials of its COVID-19 combination treatment called Paxlovid, which has been shown to be 89% effective in preventing severe symptoms or death from the virus, far more than the 50% level of molnupiravir. Although it has not yet been approved in any country, it has submitted an application for emergency approval to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with countries like United States, Great Britain, and Australia already considering purchasing the treatment in bulk.

AstraZeneca has also released clinical trial data from its COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment called Evusheld, and uses a combination of the medicines tixagevimab and cilgavimab. The antibody cocktail has been shown to reduce the risk of severe symptoms and death by 77% over three months and 83% over six months, with an effectiveness of up to 88% if administered within three days of the drug. ‘infection. The two drugs are given all at once and sequentially as injections into the arm.

The deputy health minister did not specify how many Pfizer and AstraZeneca treatments will be purchased. He also did not specify to what extent the deal with Merck will be affected by this readjustment.

(Source: Parliament / YouTube]

Maria J. Book