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Russia approves first COVID-19 prescription drug for sale in pharmacies

  • R-Pharm's announcement is another sign Russia is pushing hard to take a global lead in the race against the virus
18 Sep 2020

(Moscow) Russia has approved R-Pharm's Coronavir treatment for outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infections and the antiviral drug could be rolled out to pharmacies in the country as soon as next week, the company said on Friday.

Coronavir's approval as a prescription drug follows the green light for another Russian COVID-19 drug, Avifavir, in May. Both are based on favipiravir, which was developed in Japan and is widely used there as the basis for viral treatments.

R-Pharm's announcement is another sign Russia is pushing hard to take a global lead in the race against the virus. It is already exporting its COVID-19 tests and has clinched several international deals for supplies of its Sputnik-V vaccine.

R-Pharm said it received approval for Coronavir after Phase III clinical trials involving 168 patients with COVID-19.

The drug was first approved for in-hospital use to treat COVID-19 in July, a government register showed.

Coronavir's trial was comparatively small. The European health regulator on Friday endorsed the use of the steroid dexamethasone in the treatment of COVID-19 patients after a study by UK researchers on several thousand patients.