Ho Chi Minh CityMr. Phan Van Su, 39 years old, went to Long Chau pharmacy in Thu Duc city to buy anti-viral drug molnupiravir for his relatives but was refused because “unqualified”.
The document that Mr. Su brought was a photo of the “quarantine notice” stored on his phone, issued to his relatives by the health authority in Binh Dinh. On the morning of February 24, he gave this photo to the pharmacy staff on Dang Van Bi Street, Thu Duc City, but was refused. The staff here explained that the number of drugs is limited, so priority should be given to selling only to F0 with a certificate or prescription from a doctor, or from medical facilities in accordance with regulations. “I just need to buy a box to send to my family, F0 in my hometown, not hoard or resell,” said Mr. Su.
Similarly, Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Trang, 24 years old, went to Long Chau pharmacy on Le Van Viet street, Thu Duc city, bought molnupiravir for her sister who was recently found to be positive. She provided a photo of a prescription for Covid-19 but did not have the doctor’s signature or the date of the prescription. Ms. Trang also could not provide the ward’s F0 certificate, so the pharmacy staff refused to sell molnupiravir, advise buying medicine to treat fever and cough symptoms.
“This morning my sister went to the ward to declare, but the medical team only took a positive test sample and did not provide an F0 certificate, so I could not buy special medicine for Covid-19 for her,” explained Ms. Trang.
According to a representative of Long Chau pharmacy (on Dang Van Bi street, Binh Tho ward), from 5pm on February 23, the pharmacy was distributed by FPT Long Chau Company (which owns a chain of drugstores with the same brand name) and distributed 5 boxes of molnupiravir branded drug. Molaravir brand of Boston Vietnam company. Each box is sold at the market price of 250,000 VND. About 10 customers came to buy, but the shop only sold to one person on the morning of February 24 when this person provided a valid F0 certificate.
Also during this time, the pharmacy on Luu Van Viet street had more than 30 people come to buy molnupiravir but only sold one box. “Having just started selling molnupiravir, many people do not fully understand how to use it as well as the conditions for selling it, so we advise and explain it very carefully. The pharmacy only sells molnupiravir with a prescription from a doctor. doctor or a certificate of treatment for F0 from the local health department,” the pharmacy representative shared.
According to pharmacists, the fact that many people desperately need medicine can’t get a certificate of F0 from the ward due to overcrowding, prescriptions not prescribed by doctors, invalid documents… buy, while we are stuck with regulations so we can’t sell, very confused and awkward”, said the pharmacy pharmacist in Tan Binh district.
Molnupiravir is the first anti-viral drug to treat Covid-19 that has been urgently licensed by the Ministry of Health. The drug works to reduce the viral load in the body, thereby reducing the risk of severe illness and death. This is a special item in the context of the outbreak of the disease, which is managed by the Ministry of Health.
On the afternoon of February 23, the Ministry of Health “fixed” the lowest selling price of molnupiravir at 8,675 VND per tablet. From 5:00 p.m. on the same day, pharmacies across the country began selling this drug. However, due to the small number of drugs, avoiding speculation to raise prices and giving priority to people who are suffering from Covid-19, pharmacies apply the condition that they only sell to locally certified F0 and each person only has to pay for it. Bought a box. Because of these requirements, many undocumented people are denied by pharmacy staff to sell molnupiravir.
According to pharmacists, a box of molnupiravir contains 20 400 mg tablets or 40 200 mg tablets, enough for a 5-day course of treatment for one person. Molnupiravir should not be used for more than 5 consecutive days, not for prophylaxis before or after Covid-19 infection or as initial treatment for hospitalized Covid-19 patients. Dosage is 1,600 mg a day, equivalent to 4 400 mg tablets or 8 200 mg tablets. Children, patients allergic to molnupiravir or any of its ingredients, pregnant and lactating women should not use this medicine. The drug can affect the fetus, sperm, according to the warning of the Ministry of Health.
Molnupiravir is sold at more than 500 Long Chau drugstores in 63 provinces and cities from 5pm on 23/2, the quantity is about 500,000 pills. This system sells two drugs molnupiravir licensed by the Ministry of Health, Molravir 400 mg and Molnupiravir Stella 400 mg, with the same price of 12,500 VND per tablet.
On the morning of February 24, Pharmacity drugstore system also started selling Boston company’s molnupiravir for 250,000 VND/box.