South Korea Approves Pfizer Oral Drug

South Korea’s Food and Drug Ministry officials said an antiviral pill for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 is likely to become available via prescription from late January after the Ministry agreed to issue an emergency authorization for Paxlovid, Pfizer’s oral pill for COVID-19.

“As the number of COVID-19 patients and those in serious condition has been increasing, we comprehensively considered the need to introduce pills that patients can take themselves, the examination review of safety and effectiveness of the drug and the results of an expert committee meeting,” Ministry of Food and Drug Safety Head Kim Kang-lip said.

Authorities said Paxlovid would be the first oral antiviral of its kind to be authorized for use in South Korea and would be available free of charge.

“The clinical demonstrations show that Pfizer’s oral drug shows a 90 percent prevention rate in hospitalization and death of COVID-19 patients,” Health and Welfare Minister Kwon Deok-cheol added.

Kwon also said the government has secured COVID-19 oral drugs Paxlovid by Pfizer and Molnupiravir by Merck Sharp & Dohme for 604,000 people and is looking into securing more.

However, Merck Sharp & Dohme’s Molnupiravir’s has not yet been approved.

“We are currently reviewing more about its effectiveness, and the examination has not been finished,” Kim said.

Meanwhile, the country has recorded an additional 69 Omicron cases, 49 domestic transmissions, 20 from abroad, reaching a total of 445 on Monday.


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