Philippines approves emergency use of Pfizer's COVID drug Paxlovid

This handout file photo provided on November 16, 2021, courtesy of Pfizer shows the making of its experimental Covid-19 antiviral pills, Paxlovid, in Freiburg, Germany.
Handout / Pfizer / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization to Pfizer’s COVID-19 drug Paxlovid, its chief said Friday.

According to FDA officer-in-charge Oscar Gutierrez, the drug regulator approved the emergency use of the oral antiviral pill on Thursday.

The FDA cleared Paxlovid for “the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults aged 18 and above, and who are at increased risk for progression to severe COVID-19,” the authorization uploaded on the agency’s website read.

The treatment is a combination of two tablets—nirmatrelvir and ritonavir—and should be taken twice daily for five days. According to the drug regulator, Paxlovid should be given as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 has been made and within five days of symptom onset.

“COVID-19 drug PAXLOVID is not recommended for women with childbearing potential, pregnant and lactating women,” it said.

According to Pfizer, its antiviral COVID-19 pill showed nearly 90% efficacy in reducing the risk of hospitalization or death.

The drug regulator earlier granted a compassionate special permit for Bexovid, the first generic version of Paxlovid.  

Gutierrez also said the FDA approved the use of a version of Merck’s COVID-19 pill molnupiravir that is manufactured in Bangladesh.

The Philippines has reported over 3.6 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 57,258 deaths. 

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