"Indonesia must have medicines that are available domestically to avoid panic when some people get sick and need the medicine," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in Jakarta on Thursday.
Paxlovid is the newest drug for treating COVID-19 patients. The other names of the oral antiviral drug are nirmatrelvir or ritonavir, he explained.
Sadikin informed that Paxlovid is meant for patients with infections of mild to moderate severity that have the potential to become severe.
He said that the provision of domestic drug stocks is part of the government's efforts to ensure easy access to drugs for the community.
"They can go to a nearby health facility to get access to this drug," he added.
On the same occasion, director general of pharmaceuticals and medical devices at the Ministry of Health, Lucia Rizka Andalusia, said that Paxlovid has obtained a distribution permit from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has been proven to be effective in treating mild symptoms in clinical trials.
"This drug is intended for adult patients with mild symptoms that have the potential to become severe," she underlined.
She informed that the donation of the drug has been the result of a collaboration between Indonesia and the American and Australian governments.
"Later, Paxlovid will be distributed to 34 provinces. In the early stages, the drug distribution will be prioritized to areas in need," Andalusia said.
Paxlovid will be given in one treatment course for five days to a patient, she added. The drug is a combination of two drugs or two antivirals that need to be taken once a day for five days.
The handover of the Paxlovid grant took place at the Health Ministry office building in Jakarta. It was attended by World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Indonesia, Dr. N. Paranietharan; the United States Ambassador to Indonesia, Sung Y. Kim; and Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Penny Williams.
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