Health Minister Alexandru Rafila said that he discussed with Hungary's Deputy Health Minister the use in the neighboring country of Favipiravir for the treatment of Covid outpatients, but cautioned that antivirals can have "much more serious" side effects than the Covid vaccine.
"There was a joint meeting yesterday of the infectious diseases committee and the family medicine committee to look for solutions so that outpatient antivirals be also available in retail pharmacies. We are trying to find a solution, but this can only be grounded and recommended by prescribers, ie family physicians and infectious disease specialists. We will look for a solution regarding Favipiravir, but not only. At this moment, Favipiravir is used only in Hungary for outpatient treatment; yesterday I had a meeting with Hungary's Deputy Health Minister in Brussels, and we discussed exactly this issue, to see how they authorized and how they use Favipiravir in outpatient treatment," Rafila told a news conference at the Victoria Palace of Government.
He added that this topic will also be discussed with the Romanian Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices, but that it is important that the identified solution is accepted by doctors as well.
"We will try to take over the best practices from Hungary and work out together a solution that is accepted by doctors as well, because not just the population, but the medics as well need to accept it. Everyone is talking about using antivirals instead of the vaccine, but for some patients such a medication may have serious side effects, much more serious than a vaccine. Therefore, family doctors need to have clear guidelines and an assessment of the patient to allow for outpatient treatment, but of course things are under development," said Rafila.
The Health Minister expressed his hope that the package of services for outpatients with Covid symptoms will be ready by the end of this month, and added that Molnupiravir will be available in retail pharmacies, provided that it is recommended by the European Medicines Agency.
"There are other antivirals available too and we'll find a solution to make them accessible to patients, but I repeat, only depending on the patient's risk category and on the stage of the disease," Health Minister Rafila said.