Isko Moreno says anyone can avail of anti-COVID drugs from city of Manila: ‘Reseta lang ang kailangan’
MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has reiterated that non-Manila residents can avail of anti-Covid drugs from the city government, which has sufficient supplies of Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Baricitinib and Molnupiravir, the medicines currently in demand amid the current surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Sa ating mga kababayan na naghahanap ng gamot, welcome po kayo sa Maynila. Ang importante, mabuhay yung tao, mailigtas yung tao, kahit sino pa siya. Sa Maynila, walang mayaman, walang middle class, walang mahirap. Lahat pantay-pantay. They can avail these medicines. Basta mabuhay lang yung tao,” Moreno said.
Moreno and the Manila City Hall staff have been busy these past few days distributing boxes of Molnupiravir to individuals who have contracted the more contagious but less deadly Omicron variant.
Even patients from the other side of the political fence in need of Molnupiravir were surprised by the immediate response of the Manila city government as boxes of the anti-viral drug were immediately delivered right at their doorsteps.
Molnupiravir is the first oral antiviral drug that is said to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death of Covid patients by 50 percent. It also prevents mild to moderate cases of Covid-19 from progressing into severe disease provided that the drug is taken during the first five days of infection.
Developed by Merck & Co, Inc, (MSD), it has given the manufacturing rights to eight top generic manufacturers in the world for low and middle-income countries, including Faberco’s manufacturer, Aurobindo Pharma Ltd. Faberco has currently made Molnupiravir (Molnarz) available in the Philippines through Compassionate Special Permit (CSP) issued by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration.
An initial 40,000 capsules of Molnupiravir were procured by the Manila city government and delivered to the Sta. Ana Hospital in November.
Moreno said another delivery of Molnupiravir is expected by the end of January due to the high the demand for the medicine amid the new surge in Covid cases.
“All they have to do is coordinate sa ating Manila Health Department or dun sa mga pinopost naming numero, tawagan lang nila at idedeliver natin at i-eextend natin yung mga gamot laban sa Covid-19. Reseta lang talaga kailangan. Kasi we could not dispense without the prescription,” the 47-year-old presidential aspirant pointed out.
On Sunday, Aksyon Demokratiko vice presidential bet Dr. Willie Ong urged mayors to follow the lead of Mayor Isko and procure the life-saving Molnupiravir as soon as possible to prevent further deaths as the Philippines grapples with the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.
“Meron po akong appeal sa ating butihing mayors, kasi kailangan focus tayo sa gamot. Sa ating mga butihing mayors, sa NCR (National Capital Region), sa probinsya, bumili na kayo ng gamot sa Covid,” the noted cardiologist and internist urged in a live video posted on his Facebook page.
“Ang tunay na gamot sa Covid sa ngayon, meron tayong Molnupiravir na 30 percent effective, meaning na pag ibinibigay sa mild to moderate Covid patients, 30 percent less hospitalization, 30 percent less death,” Ong said.
Ong made the appeal after noting that the Philippines recorded 265 fatalities last Saturday, a very worrisome development since South Africa, where Omicron was first detected, only recorded a high of 57 deaths in one day during their own surge.
He said the high number of fatalities could be connected to the lack of drugs, lack of public hospitals and lack of free health care for the poor.
“Bakit? Baka yung gamot natin hindi na naibibigay, baka yung mahihirap natin hindi na naipapasok sa ospital ng libre kaya sa bahay na lang nagse-self medicate kaya namamatay. Yung lang naman yun, kulang sa gamot, kulang ka sa ospital, kaya mas marami namamatay,” Ong pointed out.
Ong said the city government of Manila has a steady supply of Molnupiravir and other anti-Covid drugs like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and Baricitinib — thanks to the foresight of Moreno – but it has no capacity to supply the drugs to the whole country.
Having said that, Ong advised mayors to purchase an initial order of 500 courses of Molnupiravir since a new and more effective drug will be available by the first week of February.
“Kung kayo ay nasa NCR, order muna kayo nitong Molnupiravir. Diyan sa mga probinsiya, order na rin tayo kasi magsa-surge din diyan after a few weeks, baka delayed lang ng two weeks or three weeks,” Ong said.
He also advised them to place advance orders for Paxlovid which is touted to lessen the chances of hospitalization and death by 87 percent. Since Pfizer does not sell Paxlovid to local government units, Ong said a generic form, Vexovid, is readily available.
“Meron generic na mabibili natin, itong Vexovid, parehong-pareho ito sa Paxlovid na Nirmatrelvir + Ritonavir. Meron ng maoorderan niyan, nagkalat na sa Viber ng mga duktor. alam na alam na nila ito. Sa mga mayors order na tayo. We have to buy the medicines as fast as possible,” he said.
“Vexovid, order kayo ng mga 500 courses din. Dito kami sa Maynila, umorder na kami ng Vexovid. Kami ang unang umorder,” Ong said.
The Aksyon Demokratiko vice presidential candidate was quick to stress though that politics is not behind his advocacy to procure the said medicines.
“Walang politika dito, this is life-saving. Ako, habulin ko lang na mabuhay ang tao. Kaya ito ang pino-force ko. I am forcing the country to follow this path. I am forcing the doctors and the politicians to follow this path. This is the correct path,” he stressed.
Ong said his call for immediate action in procuring the life-saving medicines also saves the people from buying the drugs in the black market where prices may be five to ten times higher than the actual price.
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