Oral Antiviral COVID-19 Molnupiravir Capsules Start To Sell in China

The oral antiviral COVID-19 medicine has been on sale in many parts of China, with varying medical insurance reimbursement ratios.


The oral antiviral COVID-19 medicine LAGEVRIO (molnupiravir capsules) has been on sale in many parts of China, with varying medical insurance reimbursement ratios.

Molnupiravir capsules, developed by US pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), along with other COVID treatments such as Paxlovid and Azvudine tablets, are currently covered by China’s public health insurance until March 31.

On January 18, a hospital in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, East China, issued its first molnupiravir prescription pad. According to local medical insurance regulations, 75 percent of the cost of outpatient services may be reimbursed, with no upper limit.

The first batch of molnupiravir capsules was delivered to Chongqing’s Southwest Hospital on January 17. Meanwhile, the medicine has arrived at nearly 80 Shanghai public hospitals.

According to the Healthcare Security Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality, hospitalisation expenses for patients infected with the new coronavirus will be fully covered by medical insurance from January 8 to March 31, and monogravir capsules have been temporarily included in medical insurance with 85 percent of the cost potentially being reimbursed.

The State Food and Drug Administration conditionally approved the import registration of monoravir capsules on December 29, 2022. The drug was added to the list of antiviral drugs and treatments. Monogravir capsules are the third oral antiviral COVID-19 medicine approved in China after Paxlovid and Azvudine tablets. They are included in the 10th edition of China’s COVID-19 control protocols, which was released on January 6.

Sinopharm, China’s largest vaccine producer, and MSD signed a cooperation framework agreement in September last year, under which Sinopharm would be the sole distributor of molnupiravir in China.

In November, a Sinopharm subsidiary signed an agreement with MSD to handle the import and distribution of molnupiravir in China.

Molnupiravir is a small-molecule oral antiviral drug that can be used to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients who are at high risk of developing more serious symptoms, such as the elderly, obese, or those with chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease or diabetes. Patients should strictly adhere to the medication’s instructions while under the supervision of a doctor.

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