Cebu already using Avigan on COVID-19 patients since July
CEBU CITY—The province of Cebu has already been using the anti-flu medicine Avigan even before clinical trials began, a local health official said.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH), said hospitals in the province have been giving the medicine to COVID-19 patients as early as July.
“This is a drug for compassionate use,” said Loreche.
“Our doctors here are using this already,” she said.
Loreche said “quite a number of hospitals” in Central Visayas are using Avigan already. She said these hospitals “request the drug through us.”
Loreche said the DOH required doctors to explain to patients that Avigan is a compassionate drug which meant that it was subject to trial.
“We do not really know the efficacy of the medicine,” she added.
Compassionate drug use means the administering of a new, unapproved drug to treat a seriously ill patient when no other treatments are available.
Loreche said doctors who administer the drug should fill up “adverse drug forms.”
If there are “adverse effects, complications or side effects” on patients given Avigan, doctors have to report to the Food and Drug Administration “for proper monitoring.”
Doctors in Central Visayas were also required to keep a record of the usage of the drugs and its effects.
Avigan is being manufactured in Japan, which had shipped 199,000 tablets for trials in the Philippines, according to a report of the South China Morning Post.
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