FDA, PRC conducting parallel probe on alleged lapses in ivermectin mass distribution

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2021   •   198

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) have started looking into the mass distribution of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin following reports of invalid prescriptions issued during the event, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

In an online briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH already forwarded to the PRC reports they gathered about the alleged invalid prescriptions issued by doctors involved in the drug distribution.

Last week, the DOH said that members of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens PH allegedly wrote prescriptions on a sheet of paper instead of a prescription pad during the distribution of ivermectin drugs led by Representatives Rodante Marcoleta and Mike Defensor in several communities in Quezon City.

“They already have acknowledged this. Ito po ay nagbigay tayo ng anecdotes at alleged na mga nireport sa atin about the invalid prescription,” Vergeire said.

“Of course, we’d like to know from them the practice of profession itong mga sumali dito na mga healthcare workers natin who are licensed by PRC,” she added.

Vergeire said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III gave the instruction for the FDA to conduct a parallel probe last Friday.

Defensor earlier defended the mass distribution of ivermectin despite repeated warnings from health authorities that the drug has not been approved to treat COVID-19 due to insufficient evidence.

The lawmaker also said that the DOH should not go after the doctors who joined the distribution.

Vergeire, however, said that the DOH will uphold the law in addressing the distribution of ivermectin.

“We will act accordingly. According to existing laws that we have in the country, according to identified violations, according to the accountable persons,” she said.

“We are on to that position and direction na i- uphold kung ano sinasabi sa batas. At gagawin po namin yan,” she added.

The DOH earlier said that a valid prescription should contain the date of prescription, the patient’s name, age, and sex. Pertinent details about the prescribing physician should also be included, such as name, office address, professional regulation number, and professional tax receipt number (if applicable).

It also called on those who received the prescriptions and the drugs to report any invalid prescriptions to the PRC, and any adverse reactions to the FDA at (02) 8809-5596 or pharmacovigilance@fda.gov.ph.

The DOH and FDA also urged the public to be “vigilant and sufficiently assess any prescriptions provided to them, as these prescriptions will protect them and ensure accountability from the issuing professional.”

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DOH: Over 2.1 million persons in PH now fully vaccinated vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 2,153,942 people have completed their COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Monday.

Based on the vaccine statistics released by the government, a total of 8,407,342 doses have already been administered in the country as of June 20. Of this figure, 6,253,400 have received their first dose.

The agency said that in the A1 or first priority group, a total of 1,569,561 have received their first shot while 1,067,630 have completed 2 doses.

In the A2 or the second priority group, a total of 2,001,758 were given the first dose. On the other hand, 553,527 received their second dose.

In the A3 sector, 2,088,000 received their first jab while 524,699 were fully vaccinated.

In the A4 group, 526,896 got their first jab and 8,086 received their second dose.

Around 67,185 persons under the A5 group were given the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The DOH also said that the total COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the 16th week of the national vaccination reached a record high of 1,461,666 doses.

It also noted that the average daily administered doses in the last seven days were 208,809.

“The government is urging eligible populations belonging to priority groups A1 to A5 to register with their local government units, get vaccinated, and complete the required number of doses as scheduled,” the DOH said.

“Regardless of vaccination status, everyone is urged to continue practicing the minimum public health standards as you may still get infected with COVID-19 and infect other people,” it added.

The national government is eyeing to vaccinate up to 70 million people this year to attain population protection against COVID-19.

Phl logs over 1.3M COVID-19 cases with 5,803 new infections

Maris Federez   •   June 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reported 5,803 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the Philippines’ total number of cases to 1,359,015.

The DOH said the new infections pushed the number of active cases to 57,679 – of which 91.9% were mild, 3.7% were asymptomatic, 1.8% were severe, and 1.3% were in critical condition.

Total recoveries also climbed to 1,277,715 after 7,652 recuperated from the viral disease.

The number of fatalities, on the other hand, increased to 23,621 following the death of 84 patients.

The department said that after final validation, eight duplicates were removed from the total case count, and 115 cases that were previously tagged as recoveries were reclassified as deaths.

The department further said that two laboratories were not able to submit their data to the COVID-19 Document Repository System. —/mbmf

DOH to meet with Cebu execs on COVID-19 protocols for arriving overseas Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2021


MANILA, Philippines – Officials from the Department of Health (DOH) and the province of Cebu will hold a dialogue to resolve differing COVID-19 protocols for arriving passengers, a health official said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the meeting will be held after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) stressed that its directives on the COVID-19 testing and quarantining of incoming passengers must be strictly implemented.

 “Ibig sabihin, kung ano man po yung protocols ng IATF, yun po ang ipatutupad natin sa lahat ng ating borders across the country, that is very clear,” Vergeire said in a press briefing.

“With regard to the meeting with Cebu officials, yes, we will be going there. Ito po naman ay isang bagay na gusto natin ding gawin para magkaroon na ng kalinawan sa discrepancy sa protocols,” she added.

Vergeire did not say who will be attending and when the meeting will be held.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier directed the provincial government of Cebu to adhere to the COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols set by the national government for returning overseas Filipinos.

Cebu had been administering RT-PCR tests on returning nationals upon their arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

This is contrary to the IATF protocols, which require arriving Filipinos to take an RT-PCR test on the seventh day of their arrival.

“Everything can be managed through this discussion,” Vergeire said. “We will be hearing them and they will be hearing us and hopefully, by the end of that day, resolved na po yung matter.”

The DOH earlier said that based on scientific evidence, the viral load in an individual infected with COVID-19 is still high on the seventh or eighth day, and that there is a high percentage that a person who might have the disease will turn positive during this period.


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