Besides the high price, Areplivir has other disadvantages. The effectiveness of the drug is still not proven, and side effects can negatively affect human reproductive functions. The active ingredient, favipiravir, is highly toxic. The drug is categorically contraindicated for everyone who plans to conceive a child.
The website of the company that produces Areplivir states that it is “registered under the registration procedure for drugs intended for use in conditions of threat of occurrence, occurrence and elimination of emergencies”, and the instructions for it were “prepared on the basis of a limited amount of clinical data on the use of the drug and will be supplemented as new data becomes available ”.
According to Andrey Mladentsev, General Director of the Promomed manufacturing company, the sales of Areplivir officially started on September 21. He noted that the drug was ordered by almost all large pharmacy chains and distributors. It is planned that at the first stage of sales, the drug will be delivered to about 10 thousand Russian pharmacies.
However, there is still no Areplivir in the regions. Pharmacies are wary of the new drug due to its high cost and lack of demand, so purchases are either not made at all, or only on pre-order with full prepayment.
So, none of the Nizhny Novgorod drugstores has the medicine in stock yet. The Nizhegorodskaya Regional Pharmacy told NewsNN that they had not yet purchased Areplivir. However, in the warehouse of the pharmacy chain there are other drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 in a hospital setting - Koronavir and Avifavir.
The purchases of Areplivir by Bashpharmacy are also not being conducted at the moment. The network of pharmacies clarified that only its analogue - Koronavir will be delivered to Ufa, the cost of which will be 11 550 rubles, according to Mkset.ru.
The directory service SUE Volgofarm publication NovostiVolgograda told that the state drugstore chain has not yet purchased Areplivir. Instead, it also acquired Koronavir, which will be on sale from Monday.
“Take a look at the situation through the eyes of a layman (using my example). I did not buy ginger for 1000 rubles at the peak of the pandemic, and I will not buy it. And in order not to be prescribed (and not forced to buy), I simply will not go to the doctor if I have symptoms of COVID. Why do I need it if I already know that doctors will silently prescribe the only existing drug and say that its price is not their problem? Well done, we achieved the “desired” effect”, - one of the residents of Volgograd wrote on the social network.
There is no Areplivir in Nizhny Tagil either, as well as there is no demand or pre-orders from buyers. “The drug is quite expensive. To date, no inquiries have been received from buyers. It is clear that in the current economic conditions, few can afford to allocate a third of their salaries for treatment. It is unlikely that the fear of side effects can affect the demand, since all drugs are undergoing clinical trials, ”the head of one of the 03 chain pharmacies told TagilCity.ru.
The same problem is observed in the Belgorod region. “In the nearest future, Areplivir will not be supplied, only upon request. The fact is that there are a lot of questions about pricing. We will wait a moment, because the price is very high. It's hard to say if people will buy it. We hope that there will be a decrease in prices”, - says the Nadezhda Pharm pharmacy chain. The "Pharmacy House" correspondent of Bel.ru was informed that pharmacies cannot purchase the drug due to the lack of distributors.
The situation is similar in the Rostov region. “There is no drug yet, and we do not know when it will go on sale. The medicines are not available from the suppliers and from the warehouse. So far, no one in Rostov asks especially about Areplivir, therefore, we think that there will be no excitement”, - RostovGazeta.ru quoted pharmacists as saying.
The drug has not been delivered to Tatarstan either, Inkazan reports. At the same time, the Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic, Vladimir Zhavoronkov, said that it is not known whether Areplivir will appear at all in Tatarstan pharmacies and who will monitor its price. But in the Tyumen region, the drug is expected in about 2-3 weeks, writes NashGorod.ru.
In Omsk pharmacies, you can buy Areplivir only by order, after paying for it. But even then not in all. In the "Pharmacy from a warehouse" noted that it will take about 14 days to wait for the order to be completed, the issue price - 12 320 rubles. In the Euromed pharmacy chain, waiting times are shorter, but the price is higher. Moreover, it will not be branded Areplivir, but a medication from another manufacturer with a similar active substance. “Our supplier has just received a drug. The active ingredient in it is areplivir. The package contains 50 tablets of 200 mg each, and its price is about 14 thousand rubles. Prepayment purchase. If you pay today, we order, and either tonight or tomorrow morning you can get it”, - the pharmacy said.
The same situation is in the Orenburg region. They can only bring a drug for coronavirus there on an individual order with a prepayment, since they believe that ordering it is simply not profitable, 56orb.ru writes.
“Areplivir is absolutely free for hospitalized patients, treatment is carried out within the framework of compulsory medical insurance. The drug is prescription, it should only be taken as directed by a doctor. The cost of the drug for retail is currently determined by the manufacturer. In the near future, favipiravir will be included in the vital list. After that, a register price will be automatically generated for it, taking into account the economic analysis by the FAS Russia", - the Omsk Regional Ministry of Health explained to Gorod55.
At the same time, the virologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences Anatoly Altstein draws attention to the fact that the main problem of Areplivir is not high cost, but inefficiency. “Will this drug cost a ruble or will cost 100 thousand, the most important thing is that it must be effective. If it is ineffective, then what difference does it make how much it costs? ”He said in a conversation with Novye Izvestia.
According to Altstein, Areplivir has not been sufficiently researched, and its effectiveness has not been proven. “This is a complete analogue of a drug that has already been researched and used in Japan. Japanese experts have concluded that it is ineffective. We have synthesized it, according to the decision of the Ministry of Health, it is delivered to pharmacies, and it will be sold at a fairly high price. And I would not be sad that this drug is not supplied to some pharmacies. From my point of view, he should not go there due to the fact that he is ineffective. Nobody sees the evidence that Areplivir saves lives, and we take it and release it. This is a commercial issue, not a medical one”, - the expert said.
The virologist also emphasized that the cheaper counterparts - Coronavir and Avifavir - are absolutely the same. Their ability to treat coronavirus infection has also not been proven.