Anti-COVID pill subject to medical supervision
Azvudine, China's first anti-COVID pill, was quickly removed from the shelves of an online pharmacy after medical experts warned the anti-viral tablets should only be taken under strict medical supervision.
The oral pills, developed by domestic firm Genuine Biotech, were briefly available at NepStar's online store on Saturday morning, priced at 350 yuan (US$49) for each bottle with 35 tablets.
China gave conditional approval to the COVID-19 anti-viral pill on July 25, 2022.
Genuine Biotech told Shanghai-based business news outlet Yicai that it has asked NepStar to remove the drug from its online store immediately.
China's National Medical Products Administration has alerted NepStar not to sell the drug online or offline. For those that have already been sold, the sales records should be reported to local authorities, an unnamed source at NepStar told Yicai.
Azvudine is a prescription drug and is approved under emergency authorization. Patients should follow treatment guidelines and should not take the drug by themselves. It's not suitable to sell the drug online, according to a medical expert, Yicai reported.
The anti-Covid pills are mainly for seniors or other groups with serious underlying conditions. They are definitely not for ordinary people, the expert said.
Genuine Biotech's drug Azvudine was initially developed as a treatment for HIV.