First Shipment of Paxlovid COVID Drug To Arrive in Czech Republic in September

The antiviral for treating COVID-19 will soon arrive in the Czech Republic. Photo Credit: Freepik

Prague, Aug 23 (CTK) – The Czech Health Ministry has signed a contract with US drug company Pfizer for a supply of the Paxlovid antiviral used for the treatment of COVID-19 until the end of this year. The first delivery is to arrive in the Czech Republic in September, ministerial spokesman Ondrej Jakob told CT today.

The ministry cannot release the sum paid for the drug due to the confidential terms of the contract, he added.

The ministry was originally seeking to buy 50,000 doses for CZK 1 billion.

“We will soon be able to offer another highly efficient antiviral drug against COVID-19, fully covered by health insurance, to all Czech patients who will need it. The pandemic is not over yet. COVID-19 is a lethal disease for which we must be prepared,” said Health Minister Vlastimil Valek (TOP 09).

The Czech Health Ministry has been negotiating a supply of Paxlovid since the beginning of this year. However, it refused to pay for the pre-set number of doses set beforehand that may not all be used.

“This contract enables us to order the medicine according to needs. The unused drugs will not have to be covered from the state budget as happened sometimes in the past, for instance in the case of monoclonal antibodies,” Jakob said.

The Czech Republic also had unused anti-COVID vaccines that it tried to donate to developing countries, but some of these had to be disposed of as their consumption date expired.

Due to the lengthy negotiations, Paxlovid will be available in the Czech Republic later than in the surrounding countries. In neighbouring Slovakia, doctors have been able to prescribe it since early August.

Along with Paxlovid, Pfizer is producing the Comirnaty vaccine against COVID-19. Over 14.8 million doses of this vaccine have been applied in the Czech Republic, making up almost 83 percent of all vaccine doses administered.

In the past, monoclonal antibodies were given to COVID patients with a high risk of a serious course of the illness, but they are not so effective for the Omicron variant. Out of antivirals, the Czech Republic already has Molnupiravir from the Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) firm. Doctors also administer Remdesivir, the first approved drug for COVID-19, to patients suitable for this treatment.

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