Palace confident of FDA review process amid bribery claims vs Sinovac
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is confident that the country’s vaccine screening authorities will not fall into bribery amid reports that Sinovac, one of several COVID-19 vaccines being lined up for use in the Philippines, reportedly bought its way to get past Chinese regulators before.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said President Duterte has full trust in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Eric Domingo in ensuring that the country will only use efficient and safe coronavirus vaccines.
“Consistent po tayo na papayagan lang natin magamit ang mga bakuna na napatunayang nang ligtas at mabisa laban sa COVID-19,” Roque said in his regular press briefing Thursday.
“Buong buo po ang tiwala ni Presidente kay Dr. Domingo, so pagdating po diyan sa allegations on bribery, tingin ko po hindi mangyayari iyan sa Pilipinas,” he added.
In a Dec. 4 report, US newspaper Washington Post said Sinovac Biotech had been found to have a record of bribing Chinese drug regulators to secure vaccine approvals, which had raised serious questions about its products’ safety.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said the FDA, as well as the vaccine experts panel, are “aware” of the report and will validate the veracity of the allegations against the Chinese drugmaker.
According to the report, Sinovac’s CEO admitted to giving more than $83,000 to a regulatory official from 2002 to 2011.
“Those years corresponded to Sinovac’s breakout period when the biotech startup founded in 2001 was handpicked by Beijing officials to lead the development of vaccines for SARS, avian flu and swine flu,” Washington Post said.
Sinovac is currently seeking the approval of the FDA to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials here after passing the initial evaluation of the country’s vaccine experts panel. It has already started delivering vaccines to Indonesia.
The government’s pandemic response chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccine may be the first to be rolled out in the country.
He also assured that Sinovac’s vaccine is safe as it utilizes the “classical inactivated virus platform.”
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