Fabunan antiviral drug not yet approved, prohibited by FDA, Palace reiterates

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2020 03:27 PM

MANILA – Malacañang on Saturday reiterated that the Fabunan Antiviral Injection (FAI), which supposedly cures COVID-19, has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In a Laging Handa public briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the regulatory agency had prohibited the use of the antiviral drug.

“Lilinawin ko po, hindi pa po approved ang Fabunan. Subject pa po ‘yan ng cease-and-desist order ng FDA,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Laging Handa public briefing.

(I’m clarifying [to the public] that the Fabunan [antiviral injection] is not yet approved. It is the subject of a cease-and-desist order from the FDA.)

The Fabunan Medical Clinic in Zambales, which exclusively used the FAI, closed its clinic on April 2 in compliance with FDA’s halt order.

“The management of Fabunan Medical Clinic voluntarily closed its clinic effective April 2, 2020 in compliance with the Cease and Desist Order (CDO) issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dated April 1, 2020 which prohibits the use of Fabunan Antiviral Injection (FAI). Please wait for official advisory regarding its re-opening,” it said on its official Facebook page.

Roque revealed that a certain “Atty. Fabunan” wrote a letter to his office, which he then forwarded to Science Secretary Fortunato dela Peña whose agency conducts clinical studies on COVID-19.

Asked at the televised briefing if FAI has been included in tests and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, Roque said. “Hindi po totoo ‘yan (That's not true).” 

According to reports, a video circulated on social media in April that the antiviral drug developed by Filipino doctor Ruben Fabunan can be used to treat the respiratory illness.

There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Earlier, the President offered up to P10 million in reward money to any Filipino who will develop a vaccine against the illness.