Rep. Arroyo e-mail about Sinopharm vaccine ‘not unusual’ — FDA exec
MANILA, Philippines — Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Eric Domingo did not find it “unusual” when Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo reached out to him regarding the Covid-19 vaccine of China-based drugmaker Sinopharm.
During the Senate inquiry on the government’s vaccination program on Friday, Domingo confirmed that Arroyo had sent an e-mail to the FDA last November regarding the Sinopharm vaccine.
The e-mail, which was from Juan Miguel Arroyo of LTA Inc, however, was empty except for two attachments about Sinopharm.
“This was on November 10 and Congressman Mikey Arroyo said he wanted to share some information on a vaccine that might be useful to the FDA. I suggested to e-mail also to the vaccine experts panel,” Domingo said.
The country’s vaccine experts panel, in response to Arroyo’s e-mail, had asked about the intention of the letter.
No further communication ensued after, Domingo said.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros prodded the FDA official whether it is not “unseemly” that Arroyo may have or may come to have “financial interests in a particular vaccine brand.”
Domingo answered that he did not find it “very unusual” since he usually gets inquiries from government officials about certain products or certain facilities.
“Doesn’t it appear unseemly that a company associated with a sitting legislator may have or may come to have financial interests in a particular vaccine brand?” Hontiveros asked Domingo.
“Dahil bagamat dalawang buwan hindi na nagparamdam uli, unang nag-email sa inyo na may attachments tungkol sa Sinopharm,” she added.
Domingo answered: “I did not find it very unusual when he offered information on a vaccine. Madalas naman na nakakatanggap ako ng mga inquiry sa mga congressman, sa mga myor, governors, about certain products or certain facilities.”
He added that LTA Inc. has not applied for a license to operate as a pharmaceutical distributor and importer, which is a requirement before it becomes a distributor of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Domingo also pointed out that Sinopharm has yet to apply for an emergency use authorization from the FDA.
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