Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) announced on Thursday that the government will purchase coronavirus medicines this year and next year to treat people in risk groups.
On Thursday, Kiik gave members of the government an overview of the different coronavirus medicines available and the possible need in upcoming years.
The government decided to acquire €4.25 million worth of COVID-19 medicines meant for home treatment. Kiik said the Health Insurance Fund estimates the total cost of necessary medicines to be at €20 million by the end of next year, but the real need will be determined by the progress of the pandemic going forward.
The health minister said the arrival of new coronavirus drugs is promising, but these are not miracle cures, but rather supplemental options to alleviate risk. "New medicines relieve symptoms and also help reduce mortality rates, but COVID-19 is still a serious illness even with these medicines and the hospitalization rates of unvaccinated people will remain high," Kiik said.
Oral prescription drugs Molnupiravir and Paxlovid are meant for coronvairus patients in risk groups, who have a significant risk to fall seriously ill. The European Commission is currently drawing up a EU procurement for the purchase of the medicines, which Estonia also aims to participate in.
Another procurement of the Remdesivir medicine is also in the works. The medicine helps shorten the duration of hospitalizations and gives monoclonal antibodies to patients, who are expected to have serious cases of COVID-19.
The government also hopes to acquire inflammatory response medicines Interleukin 6 and Janus kinase inhibitors, which help reduce the mortality rates of patients with oxygen requirements.
Several coronavirus medicines are currently in use in Estonian hospitals. Remdesivir has been used to treat serious cases among hospitalized patients, monoclonal antibodies have also been used.
The Health Insurance Fund estimates the total cost of coronavirus medicines to total €4.25 million in 2021 and €15.83 million in 2022. The government cabinet is set to discuss the need for COVID-19 medicines and the cost of acquiring them in December.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste