Prague, April 9 (CTK) – The Japanese drug favipiravir is to be available for Czech COVID-19 patients within a few days, partly donated by Japan, partly paid for to a Japanese firm by Czechia, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (for ANO) told journalists today.
“The medicine will be first applied in Prague’s General Teaching Hospital (VFN), and afterwards it should be available in other hospitals. It seems to be quite promising for moderately serious cases,” Vojtěch said, adding that Czechia is among the 20 countries to which Japan has allowed to supply the medicine.
Irena Storova, head of the State Institute for Drug Control (SUKL), said the donated part of the medicine will be enough for 20 to 25 patients.
“If more were needed for Czech patients, the Czech Republic my buy more for about another 80 patients,” Storova said.
Vojtěch said favipiravir might be administered to hospitalised patients with a moderately serious course of the disease.
“It is turning out that favipiravir has proved effective in the first phases of the disease. Doctors said each patient will need an individual approach,” said Storova.
Further experimental medicines against COVID-19 have already been administered to patients in Czechia. The U.S. Gilead firm in March approved the use of its remdesivir drug for a patient in the VFN.
Storova said Gilead is now deciding on the number of doses to be sent to Central and East Europe. “I have been assured that the Czech Republic will be one of the first [to receive it] in Central and East Europe,” she said.
After Gilead decides, its Czech subsidiary will immediately apply for the approval of remdesivir by Czech authorities and the SUKL will recommend that the Health Ministry grants the approval, Storova said.
Hydroxychloroquine has been administered to several patients in Prague’s Central Military Hospital (UVN).
Vojtěch said these are experimental medicines, which is why they are not covered from public health insurance. Czechia will receive part of them for free and part will be financed by the respective hospitals and the Health Ministry.