Video courtesy of PTV
The Philippine drug regulator said several persons have been arrested over the allegedly overpriced sale of Tocilizumab, a drug used by patients experiencing severe COVID-19, the supply of which is expected to remain scarce until the end of the year.
"Meron na po tayong several na mga nahuli through our buy-bust operations, hindi lang po dito sa Luzon; hanggang Visayas, Mindanao," said Food and Drug Administration chief Eric Domingo, who did not give an exact figure on apprehensions.
"Tuloy-tuloy po ‘yong operations natin d’yan," he said in a televised public briefing.
(We have arrested several persons through our buy-bust operations not just here in Luzon, but in Visayas and Mindanao as well. Our operations on that continue.)
Domingo urged the public to refrain from buying the drug from disreputable sources, as it may be counterfeit or substandard.
"Maaaring lalo pa pong makasama sa pasyente," he said.
(This may worsen the patient's condition.)
Based on DOH's Department Circular no. 2021-0291, an 80-milligram (mg) to a 4 milliliters (ml) vial of Tocilizumab may be sold from as low as P7,867.06 to as high as P8,303.57.
The 400-mg per 20-ml vials of the COVID-19 experimental drug, meanwhile have a suggested retail price of between P25,726.81 and P25,736.61.