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Ministry mulls subsidy for Molacovir

State Enterprise Pharmaceutical Factory No. 3 in Vientiane and its partners are discussing practical measures to step up the production of Molacovir and make it affordable for people on low incomes.
The factory is making Molacovir for the treatment of early stages of Covid-19.
The Ministry of Health is advocating a reduction in the cost of the drug as part of efforts to ensure that everyone has access to essential medical treatment.


The factory’s Managing Director, Dr Lahounh Chanthabout, said more people now require Molacovir, include people in the low-income bracket.
He said the factory could increase production of Molacovir but the government would have to subsidise production costs by paying 50 percent of the purchase price of the chemicals needed, or paying 30 percent of the cost of one course of treatment, which is 400,000 kip for a five-day course,
To qualify for treatment with Molacovir, Covid patients must not show signs of pneumonia or oxygen shortage, Dr Lahounh said.
“We are prepared to support the ministry’s policy by providing access to Molacovir by low-wage patients under the ministry’s universal health coverage policy,” he added. 
The ministry has asked the government for emergency funding to buy Molacovir for distribution to people who are poor and have tested positive for Covid.  
Some people with Covid are in need of Molacovir but are unable to afford it, Dr Lahounh said.
An anonymous official from the Ministry of Health said she expects that money can be sourced from the Health Equity Fund to subsidise the cost of Molacovir for use by the poorest people.
The fund was set up several years ago to support health services for the poor in target provinces, but not Vientiane. It was designed to enhance the quality of medical services, especially for the disadvantaged, and boost health facility development.
Use of Molacovir is part of government efforts to combat the continuing spread of Covid, Dr Lahounh said.
The drug pilot programme is targeting people aged 18 and over who have mild or moderate symptoms of Covid and are in the early stages of the disease.
Some other countries are using the drug and are administering it to people over the age of 60 and those with underlying health conditions.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
 (Latest Update January 14, 2022)

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