Japan government buys 500, 000 doses of COVID - 19 drug, says ex-PM Suga

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Japan government buys 500, 000 doses of COVID - 19 drug, says ex-PM Suga

TOKYO - The Japanese government procured 500,000 doses of the antibody cocktail Ronapreve for COVID - 19 treatment, which cost $310,000 yen roughly $2,730 per dose, former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told during an Oct. 12 program.

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. supplies the monoclonal neutralizing antibody medicine, used to treat coronavirus patients with mild symptoms. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the government contract with the company contains confidential clauses that deem the purchase price confidential.

In the online program on the night of October 12, Suga emphasized progress on vaccine rollout and the practical implementation of medication targeting COVID - 19 patients with mild symptoms as achievements during his tenure as prime minister. Regarding Ronapreve, which was officially approved for pharmaceutical manufacturing and sales in July, he said, It costs 310,000 yen per dose. Although it is very effective, it's extremely expensive. The former prime minister also commented that although originally the government planned to procure 200,000 doses, he gave instructions to buy as many as possible and increased the amount to a total of 500,000 doses. According to simple mathmetic based on these remarks, the expenses for procuring Ronapreve total 155 billion yen, or about $1.37 billion.

Ronapreve combines two neutralizing antibody drugs. It is administered via an IV drip once to coronavirus patients with more serious symptoms that could develop into mild or moderate cases. Antibody drugs are difficult to produce, and many others targeting patients with cancer or rare diseases cost between several hundred thousand to several million yen several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars Regarding Suga's remarks, an senior official of the health ministry said they have no comment on either the price or quantity, as it falls under a non-disclosure agreement.