ISLAMABAD: Amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the country, the federal cabinet on Tuesday reduced the price of Remdesivir, an antiviral drug administered to Covid-19 patients.
The price of 100mg IV injection has been reduced from Rs2,300 to Rs1,892, said Federal Minister Abdul Qadir Patel. “It will help the people to get the treatment as the government wants to improve the health system and make the treatment affordable,” he said.
It is the fifth decrease in the medicine price by the federal cabinet since September 2020 when it was reduced from Rs10,873 to around Rs8,900 by the PTI government.
According to the WHO, no significant improvement has been observed in critical patients who used the medicine though it suggests the use of Remdesivir in mild or moderate Covid-19 patients who are at high risk of hospitalisation.
PMA sees apathy towards booster dose, non-adherence to SOPs behind rise in cases
Talking to Dawn, Prof Dr Javed Akram, a member of the Scientific Task Force on Covid-19, called it a positive step but said he believed that prices of “all the medicines should be reduced”. He was of the opinion that the government should take steps to manufacture raw materials of medicines in Pakistan.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) says as many as 85 per cent of the eligible Pakistani population, i.e. over 124 million, has been fully vaccinated. The official data shows that 113 persons were found infected and one person succumbed to Covid-19 virus on Tuesday.
Expressing concern over the rise in cases, particularly in Karachi, Hyderabad and Islamabad, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has stated: “This surge in the Covid-19 cases is due to negligence in adopting preventive measures like social distancing and wearing mask. People are mostly seen without mask at markets, social gatherings, wedding ceremonies, family get-togethers, at public transport and malls. Without adhering to the SOPs, cases will continue to rise and God forbid, we can again face the difficult situation,” the association added.
The other significant reason for the rise was “apathy towards booster dose”, PMA secretary general Dr Qaisar Sajjad said. “According to our sources, so far approximately 15 million people have got booster doses which are not up to the mark. The effectiveness of the vaccine is decreasing due to time lapse and the only way out is to administer booster dose. We should be very careful to avoid any untoward situation that can lead to worsening of the Covid-19 situation in the country,” he said.
“PMA suggests people to follow SOPs. Always wear mask, keep social distancing and wash or sanitize your hands with proper intervals. Avoid shaking hands and hugging each other. We also suggest those who have got two doses of Covid-19 vaccine to immediately get booster dose to avoid infection. The people who do not get booster dose could face the intricacy of the disease. Government should immediately initiate media campaign to counter the misconceptions regarding vaccine and create awareness among masses to get booster dose,” he added.
The WHO on its website stated: “WHO has issued a conditional recommendation against the use of Remdesivir in hospitalised patients, regardless of disease severity, as there is currently no evidence that Remdesivir improves survival in these patients. In April, after the publication of new data from a clinical trial outcome of admission to hospital, WHO now suggests the use of Remdesivir in mild or moderate Covid-19 patients who are at high risk.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2022