Almost £1 billion of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on an anti-Covid drug that does not work, The Telegraph can disclose.
Less than two per cent of the 2.23 million courses of the antiviral drug molnupiravir procured by the Department of Health have ever been prescribed to patients, analysis by The Telegraph shows.
The rest are unlikely to ever be used after research found the drug makes no difference to hospitalisation or death rates.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), the UK drugs watchdog, recently said molnupiravir should not be routinely used. In November, the drug was added to its draft “not recommended” list for treatment of Covid.
The drug is far more costly than alternatives, at around £450 per course. It has been used so infrequently that it amounts to a cost of £30,000 per patient treated, The Telegraph investigation reveals.
In autumn 2021, Sajid Javid, then the health secretary, announced that the Government had bought 2.23 million courses of the “game-changing” antiviral in an attempt to reduce the impact of the omicron variant.