MANILA - A lawmaker on Monday questioned the Department of Health's request for P1 billion to import anti-viral drug remdesivir which is used for COVID-19 treatment.
Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza said the drug was costly and does not prove effective against the coronavirus.
"It doesn’t shorten the clinical treatment, it does not prevent the use of mechanical ventilation, it does not reduce mortality. Lahat ng negative nilabas ng WHO (World Health Organization), parang hindi tayo nakikinig, bibili na naman tayo ng isang bilyon," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(The WHO released negative results, it seems like we're not listening, we will purchase another P1 billion worth of drugs.)
"Maniniwala na ata ako na talagang nagkakapera dito. Bakit 'yung ivermectin na talaga murang-mura...ayaw nila aksyunan. Aabutin daw ng 8 buwan ang pagaaral."
(I would believe that someone is profiting from this. Why are they not doing anything about ivermectin which is cheap? They said the study about it will take around 8 months.)
Health Secretary Francisco Duque said remdesivir is used in around 50 hospitals and was recommended and approved by local experts such as the Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Disease.
"Nagbigay sila ng kanilang expert opinion na nakakatulong ito sa pangagasiwa ng severe to critical COVID cases," he said.
(They gave their expert opinion that this can help in caring for severe to critical COVID cases.)
The agency welcomes investigation into the matter, Duque added.
"Wala naman tayong tinatago d'yan. Kung magkaroon ng imbestigasyon, we welcome it and we will cooperate," he said.
(We're not hiding anything. If there will be an investigation, we welcome it and we will cooperate.)