Minister calls on producers to expedite COVID-19 medicine production

Minister calls on producers to expedite COVID-19 medicine production

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. ANTARA/HO-Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment/sh

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Deputy Chairman of the COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Committee Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has called on national pharmaceutical producers to expedite production of medicines for COVID-19, including remdesivir.

"We should seek to produce it locally. We will find the raw material, so there should be no obstacle to this," Pandjaitan, concurrently the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment said  in a statement here on Sunday.

In a coordination meeting on COVID-19 medicine on Saturday, Pandjaitan has called on state-run pharmaceutical firm Bio Farma to take immediate measures to start producing the medicines.

President Director of Bio Farma Honesti Basyir said the company has sought the license to produce remdesivir, one medicine for COVID-19.

"We have two ways for this. First, we will cooperate with India and conduct clinical test in collaboration with state-run enterprises. Second, in addition to import license, we are conducting research to produce the medicine in the country," Basyir said.

Head of the National Agency of Food and Drug Control (BPOM) Penny K. Lukito said the agency is processing the license for clinical test of remdesivir.

"Regarding raw material from China, we have noted this and would seek the best way to maintain its quality and safety," Lukito said.

The meeting has also discussed cash flow of hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.

Acting Director of Health Services of the Health Ministry Abdul Kadir said delays in claim submission to BPJS has disturbed the hospitals' cash flow.

Pandjaitan has called on the ministry to coordinate with hospitals in solving the issue. He also called for a fix mechanism on the procedure of claim submission to BPJS for COVID-19 treatment.

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