Health Min. hopes to quickly have Covid pill available in Netherlands
Health Minister Ernst Kuipers hopes to have the coronavirus pill Paxlovid available soon. The negotiations between the Ministry of Public Health and pharmaceutical company Pfizer are in the “concluding phase,” a spokesperson for the Ministry said.
Paxlovid is only intended for a very limited group of people. That includes people for whom the coronavirus vaccine does not work or who are highly vulnerable, for example, because they recently had an organ transplant.
“We would like to have the medicine, but not under Pfizer’s current terms,” said a Ministry spokesperson. Experts criticized the Ministry, telling BNR that it is incomprehensible that other countries are already prescribing the medicine. That criticism is not justified, according to the Ministry. These countries may have less stringent requirements for delivery conditions than the Netherlands.
There is agreement about the price, but not other conditions that the Ministry wants to arrange with the manufacturer. “The price is not the problem,” the spokesperson said. The talks now focus on, among other things, the delivery and the shelf life of the pills. The Ministry also wants to know how these medicines fare against other coronavirus variants. “Concluding talks are now underway about this.”
There is also not a very high need for the medicine in the Netherlands because there are currently also reasonably good alternatives to help the limited group eligible for the pills. The advantage is that the pills can be taken at home, the spokesperson said. “We would like to have Paxlovid available as an option.”
Paxlovid can prevent people in high-risk groups from becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus. The pills should be taken as soon as possible after the coronavirus diagnosis. The patient has to take six pills every 24 hours for five days in a row. It is up to the attending physician to prescribe the treatment.
Reporting by ANP