DOH, DOST, FDA hit over ‘confusing’ set up for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in PH
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Tolentino has called on the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DOH), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get their act together and cooperate for the smooth conduct of clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
“Where do the duties, responsibilities, and accountabilities of the DOST, the DOH, and the FDA begin and end?” Tolentino said in his privilege speech Wednesday, as he expressed concern on conflicting statements of the three concerned agencies.
Tolentino, who is also the Senate committee chair on local governments, also asked for a roadmap from DOST, DOH, and FDA on their coordination as well as the conduct of clinical trials for the new coronavirus vaccine.
Tolentino raised that during the Senate hearing on DOST’s proposed budget, DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña said that the Philippines has signed confidential data agreements on COVID-19 vaccines involving at least five countries.
However, Dela Peña denied having knowledge when he was asked of reports that COVID-19 vaccines are allegedly being distributed in the country, as well as if these vaccines underwent licensing procedures.
“This statement is as alarming as it is confusing. This begs the question: who is really in-charge of clinical trials on COVID-19 treatments in the country?”
Tolentino said he was also baffled that the DOH and DOST kept on announcing the schedule of the clinical trials in the country, even if the FDA says it has not approved such activity.
To date, the Philippines has 329,637 COVID-19 cases, including 273,723 recoveries and 5,925 deaths.
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