Stocks of remdesivir, tocilizumab in PH running low – DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday that current stocks of COVID-19 investigational drugs remdesivir and tocilizumab are diminishing amid the fresh surge of cases.
For this, the health agency vowed to provide P5 million funding to each DOH hospital in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon “to ensure unhampered supply of COVID-19 therapeutics.”
“The current stocks of remdesivir and tocilizumab are running low. The remaining supplies being used by select hospitals are donations from the WHO (World Health Organization),” DOH said.
Use of these investigational drugs was allowed under the compassionate use permit of the Food and Drug Administration.
According to DOH, the additional funding for each DOH hospital including specialty hospitals in the said regions will allow facilities to replenish stocks of their COVID-19 medications.
The DOH said that for it to be able to procure these drugs, it must have an emergency use authorization and a positive recommendation from the Health Technology Assessment Council.
The DOH-Disease Prevention and Control Bureau previously earmarked a P1-billion budget for the potential procurement of additional remdesivir.
“However, due to recent developments, the WHO Solidarity Trial has struck out the inclusion of remdesivir among its investigational drugs citing that it ‘had little or no effect on overall mortality, initiation of ventilation and duration of hospital stay in hospitalized patients’,” DOH said.
Meanwhile, the country currently has enough supplies of dexamethasone.
“However, if additional supplies do not arrive and considering the current trend of infection, supplies may only last for another 2 weeks at most,” added DOH.
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