"Some variants of drugs that we definitely need are antiviral drugs such as Favipiravir and also Molnupiravir. If we can get these drugs immediately, it will greatly help in the handling of COVID-19," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in a written statement here on Friday.
He issued the statement after inaugurating PT Amarox Pharma Global in Delta Silicon 3 area, Central Cikarang, Bekasi district the same day.
The minister said that the government is trying to ensure the availability of COVID-19 drugs in the country, especially for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also securing new antiviral drugs such as Molnupiravir and Paxlovidm, he informed. Currently, the Health Ministry has secured 400 thousand Molnupiravir tablets that have been prepared by PT Amarox, he said.
PT Amarox will also likely start producing Molnupiravir from April or May 2022, Sadikin said adding that he has asked the company to also produce Paxlovid to deal with the next pandemic.
Indonesia is currently entering the next wave of infections due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, Sadikin said. COVID-19 medicines need to be provided to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
He said when there was a spike in cases in several countries, Indonesia experienced logistical difficulties in getting medicines. "It would be very nice if we can produce drugs domestically, while the manufacturing is also built here," he added.
Sadikin lauded the existence of PT Amarox as a pharmaceutical provider in Indonesia. Cooperation with PT Amarox in the short term can help the government overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and in the medium term, the company can support drug independence in the country, he added.
"We hope that all products that are critical to our nation are produced domestically, and we will ensure that there are many drug and medical device companies in Indonesia so that if there is another pandemic, we will not depend on other countries," the minister said.