KUCHING, March 6 — The Sarawak government has made plans to secure supplies of Pfizer’s Covid-19 drug Paxlovid, says Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
According to him, the Sarawak Covid-19 Advisory Group (Scovag) led by its chairman Datuk Dr Andrew Kiyu, has been in talks with Pfizer to acquire the oral antiviral drug.
“Premier of Sarawak Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg had instructed (us) to acquire the necessary Covid-19 drugs based on science to supplement or complement the Ministry of Health (MoH) for our fellow Sarawakians in Sarawak’s war to fight Covid-19.
“Thanks Scovag, led by Prof Datuk Dr Andrew Kiyu, for discussing with Pfizer for the above oral antiviral with the view to acquire,” he said in a Facebook post.
He said Sarawak’s plan to acquire Paxlovid would be of similar arrangement to Ronapreve, a Covid-19 antibody treatment developed by Swiss pharma giant Roche, which was purchased by the state government and made available at all four major public hospitals in Sarawak since last year to supplement and complement MoH.
Dr Sim, who is also Public Health, Housing and Local Government Minister, also said that Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s announcement yesterday (March 5) that Malaysia was expected to receive its first shipment of Paxlovid in two weeks would mean that the state had “one less hurdle to acquiring the new oral antiviral drug.”
“Thanks National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) and YB KJ for additional therapeutic options in our fight with Covid-19 to save as many lives as possible though still #NoMagicBullet,” he said.
He said while MoH depended on various national professional recommendations, the Sarawak government depended on local experts in Scovag on new and emerging Covid-19 drugs recommendations.
One such example, he said, was Molnupiravir, developed by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), with which Scovag have had an ongoing discussion on the antiviral medicine since last year.
“In order to speed up the process, Sarawak will need to pursue under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) for a Sarawak Drug Control Authority, Sarawak Ministry of Health, and Sarawak Professional Councils (Medical, Pharmacy, Nursing, Allied Health),” he suggested.
Khairy at an event in Kuala Lumpur yesterday said Malaysia had purchased 110,000 patient-courses to be given to high-risk individuals for the first phase of the procurement of Paxlovid.
He said if the drug was found to be effective, the government would then increase the purchase of the drug from Pfizer. — Borneo Post