‘Covid-19 drugs expected to come’. Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, who chairs the Production and Materials Committee of the Covid-19 Taskforce, said the request for funds was made on Wednesday, adding that the drugs would be available for free.
Plans to manufacture more drugs to manage the symptoms of Covid-19 are gathering pace, with Treasury requested to release US$617 000 for the importation of the required raw materials.
Dr Nzenza and her entourage on Thursday last week toured the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) and CAPS Holdings Limited, which is 68 percent owned by the Government, to assess drug availability and capacity to produce drugs. CAPS Holdings production director, Mrs Farirai Mtema, said they had tripled production of Paracetamol, which helps manage body temperature, and Vitamin C, to boost the immune system.
NatPharm acting regional manager Mr Raguel Mthombeni said they had two years’ stock of amoxicillin and six months’ supply of azithromycin, which are antibiotics and are some of the key drugs in managing Covid-19 symptoms. There is no cure for Covid-19 so far.
At NatPharm, Dr Nzenza was shown sanitisers and personal protective equipment (PPE) that are being manufactured at local universities as part of efforts to fight the killer pandemic. The drugs and PPE is being stocked at Natpharm and ready for distribution.
Dr Nzenza was also shown rapid testing kits that were sourced from China. “We have requested through the Ministry of Finance US$617 000 for importation of raw materials to produce more paracetamol and more relevant drugs, but we will continue to review the situation in terms of what are the key essential drugs that must be available to mitigate against Covid-19,” she said. Dr Nzenza said the preparedness of Natpharm and CAPS was impressive.Government is making the treatment of Covid-19 accessible and free.
CAPS Holdings is in full production of the key drugs, while Natpharm has massive quantities of some of the relevant drugs that would be required in combating Covid-19.
Dr Nzenza said people showing signs and symptoms of Covid-19 should not be scared to go to their nearest health centres for fear of the cost of medicine because it would be free if one tested positive.She said Government was ready and prepared in terms of drugs supply.
“The cure for Covid-19 is still to be found, however, one of the other drugs that may be needed to manage the symptoms is Chloroquine, but currently we do not have adequate supply,” said Dr Nzenza. “We are already in the process of procuring a finished product and raw materials.
“I would like to reassure the public that we are producing drugs which will be required in an emergency. As Government we are ready and prepared.” Mr Mthombeni said they were expecting to receive Chloroquine soon as they were already sourcing.
“We have heard from various literature’s that it can be a useful drug as well,” he said. “As a country we are currently sourcing it and we expect it to be available within the shortest period of time. We are in touch with our local manufacturers if they could manufacture that product and pharmaceuticals wholesalers to see if they can assist us in bringing in the drug.” Mrs Mtema said Paracetamol was an important painkiller which helped lower body temperature when one caught a fever.
“In the event that someone is infected by Covid-19, they will need their temperature reduced and paracetamol is a key drug,” she said. “As CAPS we would do everything necessary to make sure that we produce more and meet the demand of all the necessary drugs that are needed to fight covid-19. “We have got the capacity and we are putting more effort to make sure the drugs are available. We have already tripled production of the key drugs in response to Covid-19.”
Source – The Herald