Jakarta (ANTARA) - Molnuvirapir, the COVID-19 antiviral drug manufactured by the US pharmaceutical company, Merck, is priced below Rp1 million, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated.

"Our calculations are between US$40 and US$50 (around Rp570 thousand to Rp713 thousand), so it is not too expensive," Minister Sadikin stated at the House of Representatives' Commission IX hearing here on Monday.

The minister remarked that Molnupiravir can be consumed by COVID-19-positive patients, with oxygen saturation levels above 95, or those who experience mild symptoms.

Sadikin stated that COVID-19 patients, whose oxygen saturation levels are above 94 or 95, can be given the drug.

"Based on the clinical trials abroad, the cure rate of the drugs for patients is 50 percent. Hence, there is no need to go to the hospital," he remarked.

Related news: Antiviral drugs are not game changers in tackling COVID-19: Ministry

Sadikin noted that Molnuvirapir is consumed for five days during the recovering process, and the doses are eight tablets each day. "Hence, it takes about 40 tablets," he added.

Moreover, the Indonesian government is seeking to bring in between 600 thousand and 1 million Molnuvirapir drugs in the early stages of December 2021 through a direct purchase scheme from manufacturers.

"Molnupiravir has already given its license to eight factories in India to be produced," Minister Sadikin noted.

Thus, the drug's presence in the country is believed to provide and ready Indonesia in facing the likelihood of another COVID-19 wave.

"Hopefully, it (another wave) would not occur, but if it does, at least we have the stock (Molnupiravir)," he stated.

The minister noted that preparations for the long-term fulfillment of COVID-19 drugs were also done by the government through the proposals of licenses to Merck or The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) that is currently incorporated in the United Nations.

"Merck has urged the United Nations or MPP to be granted a grand patent, so we can link with them," he noted.

He revealed that the process had entered the finalization stage. Hence, the government also involves state-run and private companies for production in Indonesia.

"(I hope) the process would be fast. Hopefully, we can make it next year to strengthen our health resilience system," he affirmed.

Related news: Indonesia finalizing agreement on procurement of COVID-19 drugs

Translator: Andi F, Kenzu T
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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