DOH set to allow hospitals to procure COVID-19 investigational drugs
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) will soon allow hospitals to procure COVID-19 investigational drugs that are already approved for emergency use in the country, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.
Among the investigational drugs already being used in the country for COVID patients are remdesivir, tocilizumab, and baricitinib.
Vergeire said the DOH will soon release an administrative order allowing hospitals to make their own procurement of COVID-19 investigational drugs.
“Mayroon po kaming ilalabas na policy. This is an admin order among the investigational drugs that we are using for COVID-19 because usually ang may EUA (emergency use authorization) po kasi ay ang DOH,” she said in an online media briefing.
(We will release a policy. It is an administrative order for investigational drugs that we are using for COVID-19 because usually, it is the DOH that has an EUA for these drugs.)
“We are now delegating this authority to procure doon po sa ating mga hospitals para makakagamit na sila agad-agad ng investigational drugs. We are just waiting for it to be signed tapos mag-uumpisa na tayo niyan,” she added.
(We are now delegating this authority to procure to hospitals so they can immediately use these investigational drugs. We are just waiting for the order to be signed before we start this.)
Vergeire clarified that the administrative order will only cover COVID-19 investigational drugs that have been issued emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration.
She said that hospitals will still need to apply for a compassionate special permit (CSP) of investigational drugs that don’t have an EUA.
The health official revealed the DOH’s plan to issue an administrative order as she clarified the status between ronapreve and molnupiravir.
Ronapreve, which already has an EUA in the Philippines, can help prevent infection, resolve symptoms of severe COVID-19, and reduce the risk of hospitalization, according to the United Kingdom’s health regulator.
The drug was first approved in Japan to treat mild and moderate COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, Vergeire stressed that hospitals need to apply for a CSP to use molnupiravir, the first oral antiviral pill prescribed for COVID-19.
About 300,000 COVID patients in the country with mild symptoms will be able to avail of molnupiravir by November, according to MedEthix, the local importer of the drug.
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