What’s inside Imus’ COVID-19 kit? City gov’t says molnupiravir, antibiotics prescription-only meds

January 24, 2022 - 7:35 PM
An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP. (Merck & Co Inc/Handout via Reuters)

Some doctors earlier questioned the need to include Merck’s COVID-19 oral pill molnupiravir and other prescription drugs in Imus City, Cavite’s COVID-19 kit.

In a Facebook post on January 19, City of Imus Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi informed his constituents about the contents of Imus’ own COVID-19 kits that are being distributed for free to symptomatic COVID-19 positive patients.

These are:

  • Molnupiravir 200 mg
  • Levofoxacin 750 mg
  • Sodium Ascorbate + Zinc capsules
  • Dexamethasone 500 mcg
  • Oral Rehydration Solution

The infographic also listed the following items:

  • Vitamins,
  • Supplements
  • Antibiotics (as needed, according to physician’s assessment)
  • Antiviral medicine (if prescribed by physician)

It also stated that the kits will be distributed to symptomatic cases of COVID-19.

Maliksi added that the city government aims to curb the spread of the current dominant variant of COVID-19, Omicron.

“Ang hangad nating gawin: early detection and mitigation at the source. Ang pinakamataas na tsansa ng hawaan ay nangyayari sa loob ng bahay, kaya’t dito tayo dapat magsimula kung susugpuin natin ang COVID-19 at Omicron,” the mayor said.

“Protektahan ang sarili at pamilya, makibuklod at magpabakuna!” he added.

How the medical community reacted

One doctor with the Twitter username, @iamtix95, shared a screenshot of a different infographic as compared to the one currently posted on Maliksi’s Facebook page.

In the image, the list of the names of the drugs and the pieces per product can be read on the graphic.

“Hala bakit ganito ang laman ng Covid-19 kits? Yung molnupiravir kulang for 5 days. Yung levofloxacin at dexemethasone ay hindi kailangan ng lahat ng pasyente na may Covid-19. Tsk,” the physician wrote with a face palm emoji, on Thursday morning.

Some medical professionals also questioned why molnupiravir, levofloxacin and dexamethasone were part of the free health packs.

“OMG bakit may prescription drugs sa, kit? 40 pcs dexamethasone? Bakit may levofloxacin? Bakit meron molnupiravir, tapos 6 pcs,” Dr. Leila Diaz commented Thursday morning.

“Sir please have your kit reviewed by doctors. Antibiotics are not given for COVID and dexamethasone is only intended for oxygen requiring patients. You can cause harm with this kit,” Dr. Cecilia Jimeno also commented on the same morning.

One doctor offered suggestions to Maliksi on how to dispense the drugs to high-risk patients.

“Bigay na lang po ntn sa high-risk patients only ang molnupiravir. Molnupiravir is 200 mg, four tabs twice a day for five days (40 pcs). Kaya po sya sold in bottles. Pinaparami nya ang mutations sa RNA para with the defects tumigil siya sa pag infect. Mabisa syang gamot pero kapag kulang ang inom, pwede di tumalab or magkaroon pa ng viral mutations/new variants,” Dr. Joycie Bernardino-Navarro wrote in the comments section on Thursday morning.

According to Drugs.com, dexamethasone is mainly used to treat many inflammatory conditions such as allergies and skin conditions.

Levofloxacin, on the other hand, is an antibiotic used against bacterial infections that cannot be treated with safer antibiotics.

The Department of Health previously issued an advisory on the correct usage of the molnupiravir, the only COVID pill approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.

“Molnupiravir should only be used under the supervision of a licensed physician. It is your physician who will help secure your medicines and ensure that they are authentic by referring you to authorized sellers, e.g. hospital pharmacies,” the advisory read.

‘Prescription-only meds’

Meanwhile, following the suggestions from doctors, the mayor of Imus City changed the graphic on his post to include that the antibiotics will only be given to a COVID patient “as needed and according to physician’s assessment” while the antiviral medicine will only be provided “if prescribed by physician.”

The changed of graphic was made 5:30 p.m. Thursday, January 20, according to Maliksi’s Facebook post edit history. The caption of the post has been retained.

“Ang Imus COVID-19 kits ay ipinamamahagi ng Expanded Home Mitigation Team sa mga positive at symptomatic cases, kung saan prayoridad ang may comorbidities, senior citizens at PWDs,” the text on the new graphic reads.

“Ang mga gamot na ipinamamahagi ay ayon sa prescription ng doctor sa pasyente, na habang positibo ay patuloy na mino-monitor ng CESU (City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit) at CHO (City Health Officer),” it added.

Aside from the City of Imus, Vice President Leni Robredo‘s office also made the oral antiviral drug developed by Merck & Co. and Ridgeback Therapeutics, molnupiravir, available to the public under Bayanihan E-Konsulta. The Office of the Vice President signed an agreement with QualiMed Health Network for this initiative.

READ: COVID-19 treatment pill molnupiravir available to OVP teleconsult patients

Last November, the local government of Manila also received 40,000 capsules of the experimental antiviral drug Molnupiravir for use at COVID-19 hospitals in the city.

READ: Manila receives 40K Molnupiravir pills