Discussion underway for production of Molnupiravir in Ho Chi Minh City: diplomat

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Discussion underway for production of Molnupiravir in Ho Chi Minh City: diplomat

Delegates attend a conference discussing ideas for the sustainable development of Ho Chi Minh City in the context of living safely with COVID-19, December 14, 2021. Photo: Ho Chi Minh City Press Center

Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau told a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday afternoon that he was promoting cooperation among pharmaceutical companies in the southern Vietnamese city for the importation of patent medicine ingredients from India to produce COVID-19 medications, including antiviral drug Molnupiravir.

Conference attendees mentioned the plan as part of the initiatives to sustain the development of Ho Chi Minh City in the context of living safely with the coronavirus.

In his remarks, Ambassador Chau praised the timely distribution of several COVID-19 treatment drugs, such as Molnupiravir — which is developed by U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck & Co. Inc. — in the city in recent months.

As Molnupiravir has yet been granted a circulation registration number in Vietnam, the Ministry of Health is considering seeking government approval for using the drug in emergency cases.

Molnupiravir is currently used in 34 Vietnamese provinces and cities for treating COVID-19 patients under a pilot program sponsored by the health ministry, with Ho Chi Minh City being the first locality to use the drug.

Dinh Vinh Cuong, a Vietnamese logistics expert living in Japan, speaks at a conference discussing ideas for the sustainable development of Ho Chi Minh City in the context of living safely with COVID-19, December 14, 2021. Photo: Ho Chi Minh City Press Center
Dinh Vinh Cuong, a Vietnamese logistics expert living in Japan, speaks at a conference discussing ideas for the sustainable development of Ho Chi Minh City in the context of living safely with COVID-19, December 14, 2021. Photo: Ho Chi Minh City Press Center

Chau said that he was promoting cooperation among pharmaceutical companies in the southern Vietnamese city for the import of patent medicine ingredients from India to produce COVID-19 drugs.

He added that Vietnamese National Assembly chairman Vuong Dinh Hue will witness the signing of cooperation agreements by 15 enterprises, including pharmaceutical manufacturers from Ho Chi Minh City, during his official visit to India from Wednesday to December 19.

Following the trip, the said enterprises are expected to bring home one metric ton of pharmaceutical raw ingredients to produce Molnupiravir in Ho Chi Minh City, according to Chau.

The diplomat emphasized the importance of stocking COVID-19 treatment pills in advance, even if the whole population in the city have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Vo Van Hoan speaks at a conference discussing ideas for the sustainable development of Ho Chi Minh City in the context of living safely with COVID-19, December 14, 2021. Photo: Ho Chi Minh City Press Center
Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Vo Van Hoan speaks at a conference discussing ideas for the sustainable development of Ho Chi Minh City in the context of living safely with COVID-19, December 14, 2021. Photo: Ho Chi Minh City Press Center

Other remarks during Tuesday’s event included the report of Dinh Vinh Cuong, a Vietnamese logistics, export-import expert living in Japan, on Vietnam’s receipt of US$28.5 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) as of December 20, 2020, down 25 percent compared to 2019.

Cuong added that FDI into Vietnam came mostly from Asian countries, but rarely from the U.S. and the EU, citing informal costs as the barrier.

Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Vo Van Hoan said that city authorities consider remittances to the metropolis, which are forecast to reach $6.6 billion this year and rise nine percent year on year, as a driving force for its economic recovery.

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