DOH: Hospitals can procure COVID-19 investigational drugs soon


Posted at Oct 29 2021 05:09 PM

Courtesy of the Department of Health

MANILA— The Department of Health is set to release a policy allowing hospitals to procure investigational drugs for the treatment of COVID-19, a health official bared Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency was only waiting for the administrative order to be signed.

"Meron ho kaming ilalabas na policy (We are releasing a policy)... This is an admin order among the investigational drugs that we are using for COVID-19 because usually ang may EUA (emergency use authorization) po kasi ang DOH (the DOH has the EUA)," she told reporters.

"We are now delegating this authority to procure doon po sa ating mga ospital para makakagamit na sila agad-agad ng (to our hospitals so they can immediately use the) investigational drugs."

She made the remark after being asked about the status of monoclonal antibody drug ronapreve and anti-viral drug molnupiravir.

To date, the Food and Drug Administration has only authorized ronapreve as treatment against the respiratory disease.

The drug can be given to COVID-19 patients aged 12 and above weighing at least 40 kilos who do not require supplemental oxygen and at high risk of progressing to severe coronavirus.

For molnupiravir, hospitals and physicians will have to apply for compassionate special permit before the state regulator, she added.

Philippine health authorities are also using remdesivir, tocilizumab and baricitinib as COVID-19 investigational drugs.

In the press briefing, Vergeire disclosed that an additional supply of tocilizumab might arrive in the second week of November.

In September, the DOH admitted to difficulties in accessing tocilizumab, a drug used by patients experiencing severe COVID-19.

Hospitals have run out of tocilizumab, with some sellers allegedly hoarding the drug and selling it for as high as P130,000 online—far from its P13,000 to P25,000 suggested retail price.