Antiviral drug Molunipiravir/ (Photo courtesy of Merck)

Indonesia to Buy 1 Million Doses of Merck’s Covid-19 Antiviral Drug


NOVEMBER 08, 2021

Jakarta. The Indonesian government is considering buying 1 million doses of Covid-19 antiviral drug developed by US pharmaceutical company Merck & Co Inc., Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Monday.

The announcement came after high-ranking officials visited New York last month to talk with Merck executives on the possibility of opening a plant here to produce the pill known as molnupiravir.

Budi said the drug is expected to arrive next month ahead of the year-end holiday season when the country may again see a surge in new Covid-19 cases.

"However, the government hopes that the local pharmaceutical company who later gets a license for molnupiravir will not only receive the pills from Merck, but also produce them in Indonesia," Budi said.

In the meantime, the government’s focus is ensuring the availability of the drug before the holiday season, he added.

Budi was part of the team that met with Merck executives last month.

He said the total number of active cases fell below the 10,000 mark nationwide on Monday, the lowest figure in 18 months.

About 60 percent of the adult population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to government figures.