By HANA BORDEY, GMA News
Published January 5, 2022 4:29pm
The Department of Health had already conducted a meeting with the representatives of American pharmaceutical company Pfizer for the procurement of COVID-19 antiviral drug Paxlovid, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday.
“Ang team ng DOH ay nakikpagpulong, nakipag-ugnayan kay [Philippine Ambassador to the US] Babes Romuaaldez kasama ang mga kinatawan ng Pfizer para naman doon sa ating pag-angkat ng Paxlovid,” Duque said during the Laging Handa briefing.
(A team from DOH had already conducted a meeting with Ambassador Babes Romualdez along with the representatives of Pfizer for the importation of Paxlovid.)
The Health chief said there was a “positive” feedback after the meeting between the DOH, led by Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, and the Pfizer representatives.
“So ‘yan ay dadaan sa proseso at at minamadali nga natin na makakuha ang Pilipinas nitong epektibong mga gamot pero siyempre padadaanin pa rin sa tamang proseso dahil mahirap na baka ma-COA tayo kapag hindi tayo sumusunod sa mga takdang mga guidelines on procurement,” Duque said.
(So that will undergo the right process and we are already fast-tracking the procurement of these effective medicines. Of course, we need to make sure that we undergo the right process because we might be flagged again by the COA if we will not follow the guidelines on procurement.)
To recall, the DOH was subject to a Senate investigation after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the transfer of P42 billion funds from the Health Department to the Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service for the purchase of COVID-19 supplies during the onset of the pandemic.
During the Go Negosyo Town Hall meeting Wednesday morning, Duque assured that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was instructed to immediately coordinate with Pfizer for the issuance of an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Paxlovid.
“But we are proactive, I reassure you that we are doing everything. And I’ve already instructed FDA to make sure that after I’ve signed the confidentiality disclosure agreement they should already prod Pfizer to already apply for an EUA. We need to go through the process,” he said.
The US FDA had already authorized the use of Paxlovid, making it the first at-home treatment for COVID-19.
On the other hand, Duque said they are still waiting for the recommendations from the Technical Advisory Group of Experts for the possible use of self-administered antigen test kits for COVID-19.
“Inaantay natin ang rekomendayon ng ating Technical Advisory Group of Experts kasi sa ngayong ang ating antigen test kits ginagamit in laboratory set-up, hindi pa siya [for] home use,” he said.
(We are still waiting for the recommendation from our Technical Advisory Group of Experts because our antigen test kits right now is being used in the laboratory set-up and not for home use.)
He said the recommendations will include the guidelines for the proper interpretation and reading of the result from the self-administered COVID-19 antigen test kits.
“Kinakausap ko rin ang FDA at sinisiguro natin na magkaron ng revision doon sa kanilang binigay na…[Certificate of Product Registration] kung papaano gagamitin ito just in case pahintulutan ang self-administered antigen test kits,” he said.
(I am also talking with the FDA to ensure that there would be revisions on the CPR on how these kits will be used in case we will allow the self-administered antigen test kits.) — RSJ, GMA News