After the discovery of a drug that helps fight COVID-19 and improve recovery in the US, South Africa will soon be able to prescribe doses to patients.
According to Business Day, Cipla South Africa chief executive officer, Paul Miller said the company has 35,000 vials in its initial batch for the country expected to arrive in the week of the 20 July.
The clinical trial in the US showed that the drug helped accelerate recovery from advanced COVID-19. The drug would not be used to treat those with mild cases but rather those suffering in the hospital.
In the trial, those who received the drug had a 31% faster recovery time than those who had the placebo.
According to BusinessTech, the drug in the US is quite expensive, costing $390 (around R6,610) a vial with a patient needing six to ten vials for effective treatment. Cipla is manufacturing the drug in India as an injectable which brings the price down to $55 (around R900).
This is still expensive but would make its use for treatment much more viable in the country.
The drug has not been registered by the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) and is being exported under a rule that allows for the import of drugs that have been approved by foreign regulators.
The procurement of these vials is a great step as it was reported at the beginning of the month that the US had bought most of the world’s supply of the drug, leaving other countries, especially in Europe in the lurch.