PH unlikely to approve COVID-19 vaccines if not locally tested – DOST chief
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is unlikely to grant emergency approval to COVID-19 vaccines whose clinical trials were done overseas, Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said on Tuesday.
“Maybe it’s the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that can decide on that … I doubt whether we will follow the emergency approvals [granted overseas] if the trials were not done here,” he told a news briefing.
De la Peña was commenting on the announcement on Monday by US drug maker Pfizer Inc. that it would seek emergency use authorization from the US FDA for the experimental COVID-19 vaccine that it was developing with German pharmaceutical company BioNTech.
90 percent effective
Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, said its vaccine was more than 90 percent effective based on a large-scale clinical test.
De la Peña said the company’s declaration must be verified in the Philippines.
“First, if [Pfizer] will conduct clinical trials here, the data gathered will pass through our vaccine expert panel and it will be verified by it. Because the 90 percent that they announced, they were the ones that did the announcement. We don’t know the details yet. We don’t know the data supporting it. If there are clinical trials here, we can verify it,” he said.
US help sought
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, in a recorded briefing played back by Malacañang, said the Department of Foreign Affairs had asked the US state department for help in accessing the Pfizer vaccine.
He said the company’s manager in Manila would take care of the matter.
“[Pfizer] won’t sell it on a high price to countries like us. It will probably be around $5 per shot,” Romualdez said.
He said another US drug maker, Moderna Inc., was also ready to supply the Philippines with the COVID-19 vaccine it was developing “if we want” it.
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