WHO has recognized several drugs used to treat coronavirus as ineffective. We are talking about remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir and interferon. The US approved the use of remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 back in May. At the end of July, Donald Trump announced that the United States had bought 90% of the world's supply of this drug, and called its effect "great."
The US President himself, by the way, was recently treated with this remedy. But his illness was still not serious. In the middle of the summer, the WHO announced that remdesivir was showing "encouraging" results. According to the latest WHO data, remdesivir does not increase a patient's chances of survival. The wording is noteworthy, says Sergey Shulyak, general director of the DSM Group analytical agency.
Sergey Shulyak General Director of the DSM Group analytical agency “These drugs do not reduce mortality. What can this talk about? The fact that when a patient already has a severe form of COVID-19, these drugs do not help. In this formulation, there is not a word about the mild course of the disease and the course of moderate severity. It is necessary to look at all this in a comprehensive manner, to figure out which drugs help well and really work in the initial stages of the disease. In this case, I agree with the WHO that, probably, in severe COVID-19, these drugs are not so effective."
In October, several European countries ordered 500,000 courses of remdesivir from the manufacturer. The Russian Ministry of Health has included it in the list of drugs that can be used to treat coronavirus. But this medicine, roughly speaking, was not enough for our country.
On the other hand, such conclusions of the World Health Organization are normal practice, says Vyacheslav Ovechkin, a pulmonologist at the Semashko Clinical Hospital "Russian Railways Medicine".
Vyacheslav Ovechkin, pulmonologist at the RZD-Medicine Clinical Hospital “Remdesivir was pre-approved even by FD in America. At that time, there was a fairly small sample, a small number of people were treated. Now, apparently, complete data have already been obtained, a more detailed analysis has been carried out. If at the initial stage we saw efficiency on a limited sample, when we turn to large numbers, to real statistics, it may turn out that the data does not correspond, this is precisely due to the limitedness of the initial sample."
In September, the Russian Ministry of Health authorized the outpatient use of two domestic drugs for covid with the international non-proprietary name favipiravir - Coronavir from R-Pharm and Areplivir from Promomed. Previously, they were used exclusively in hospitals. Favipiravir was recently added to the list of essential medicines.
And on Friday, October 16, FAS agreed on a ceiling price for favipiravir. For a pack of 50 tablets, excluding regional surcharges, you will have to pay 5500 rubles, including VAT. Today, in the capital's pharmacies, favipiravir can be purchased for 11-16 thousand rubles, that is, the maximum selling price has been reduced by more than 50%.
This is to be expected, experts say. Another question is that the drug is not yet used even in all clinics, says Nikolai Kryuchkov, general director of the contract research company Clinical Excellence Group, immunologist.
Nikolay Kryuchkov General Director of the contract research company "Clinical Excellence Group", immunologist "Moscow announced that even according to indications it will actually issue favipiravir to outpatients staying at home for free. Let's see how it goes.As for other regions, no, the drug is expensive, two packages are needed for the course of treatment, so the drug is usually not available. In hospitals, it is not prescribed everywhere, but there are hospitals that constantly use it. This is not to say that it is not used anywhere, at least it is purchased. A significant amount was purchased for more than 600 million rubles, while these purchases are ongoing. Favipiravir is not the most effective drug, not a panacea. There are drugs that must be prescribed - the same anticoagulants or anti-inflammatory therapy for a severe course, and there are drugs that can be prescribed, but even if they are not prescribed, this will not critically affect the patient management protocol. These include favipiravir conditionally."
On Friday, October 16, it became known that the volume of production of the drug "Areplivir" based on favipiravir has increased fourfold for deliveries to retail chains in Russia. The anti-coronavirus drug has arrived in all regions. Due to high domestic demand, sales abroad had to be stopped.