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Dengvaxia vaccine did not follow proper procurement process – former Health Official

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 8th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The Formulary Executive Council (FEC) of the Department of Health did not give permission and did not recommend the purchase of the P3.5-billion anti-dengue vaccine.

According to former Undersecretary Susan Mercado,  the FEC in the first place was very much against to use of Dengvaxia for mass vaccination

“There is a Formulary Executive Committee which is created under Executive Order #49 that actually protects the secretary of health in making a decision about what to introduce or not introduce in the country,” Mercado said.

Dr. Mercado also reasoned that the entire procurement process was not followed when DOH said they would use Dengvaxia in the government’s immunization program.

“That is very problematic because this system of the Department of Health for introducing new vaccines has worked for more than 50 years, for 50 years the Department of Health has been able to protect children through vaccination and all of a sudden the process is not followed,” Dr. Mercardo said.

There are also ways which should have been followed by the department in introducing a new vaccine especially when it comes to proposing a budget for it.

It should first pass through the National Immunization Committee, the Executive Committee of the Department and the General Appropriations Act in Congress.

Scientists and experts were not also given enough time to review and to debate on the said vaccine.

“See, the process was not followed here. In the first place it was not part of the General Appropriations Act and therefore there was no congressional oversight over it and under the law there has to be congressional oversight of the budget. So, that whole part of it was skipped,” Mercado said.

On the other hand, DOH said if the purchase was anomalous it should have set off alarm bells in the Commission on Audit (COA).

“Kung hindi legal at hindi in order ang ginawang pagbili ng Dengvaxia, the purchase happened last year,siguro sa ngayon hinahabol na kami ng COA,” DOH Usec. Gerardo Bayugo said.

(If the procurement of Dengvaxia had been illegal and not in order, [and the fact that] the purchase happened last year, COA would be hounding us by now.)

On Thursday, former member of DOH’s dengue expert panel, Dr. Anthony Leachon, claimed that they were barred to speak during the House hearing where they were supposed to reveal their findings on possible risks in the implementation of the Dengue Immunization Program. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

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Dengue cases in CARAGA region rises to 5,800; death toll 17

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Dengue cases in CARAGA region has climbed to 5,800 while death toll raised to 17 since January of this year, higher compared to the same period last year.

The Department of Health is alarmed by the increase of dengue cases in the region after the number more than doubled from only 1,173 cases to 5,800. Death toll also rose to 17 in January from four deaths last year.

Based on the investigation of the DOH, late diagnosis and late treatment were one of the major reasons that caused the death of 17 dengue patients.

Doctors in the region reiterate the importance of medical checkups.

“Seek early consultation sa panahon na meron tayong nakikitang myembro ng ating pamilya na may lagnat lampas pa sa dalawang araw at may pang hihina. Kailangan tayong lumapit sa ating malapit na mga health center para sa pagpakunsulta, (Seek early consultation if we have a family member who is experiencing fever for more than two days including extreme fatigue. You need to go to the nearest health center for consultation),” said Dr. Glee Valendoza, Medical Officer III/ Infectious Cluster Head, DOH 13.

The department also reminds the public to use the 4-S against dengue especially in residences near waterways.—AAC (with reports from Raymond Octobre)

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DOH begins consultations for Universal Health Care law rules

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday began the public consultations for the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.

The DOH said the first public consultations for regions 1, 2 and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) will be held in Baguio City from June 13 to 14.

The agency said the conduct of a series of public forums across the country aims to make the process of drafting the IRR inclusive and consultative.

“We want to hear from different stakeholders most especially the public because it is truly the Filipino people who will benefit from the UHC,” the DOH said in a statement posted on Twitter.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the UHC into law last February 20.

The law makes all Filipinos members of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), either as direct or indirect contributors, providing immediate eligibility and access to preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care for medical and emergency health services.

The measure urges the private sector to help provide improved health benefit packages for Filipinos to reduce their expenses.

The DOH has been given 180 days to outline and complete the law’s implementing guidelines.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they are now moving to fast track the implementation of the UHC law.

“It is a big undertaking and we’re now laying the groundwork for the sustainability and effectiveness of this reform that aims to address a number of gaps in our health system,” Duque said.

The DOH said the current draft of the IRR was put together with the help of various stakeholders and representatives from the public and private sector.

The agency said the public consultation for Visayas and Mindanao areas will be announced in the coming weeks through DOH official social media accounts.

The DOH earlier expressed confidence it will be able to finish the draft before the 180 days and the law’s implementing rules will be available by July or August this year.

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Online selling of prescription drugs not allowed by law – DOH

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, June 10th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Social media have become a popular platform for online selling of almost everything – from shoes, clothes, gadgets, machines, food, even health supplements and prescription medicines.

A concerned netizen posted on social media how easy it was for her to order prescription medicines from an online store and pay the amount at any payment center.

The UNTV News Team checked on the online pharmacy which the netizen mentioned and what other prescription medicines were available for purchase.

The online pharmacy was still open but the prices of medicines were no longer posted.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), selling prescription drugs online is not allowed and may incur penalties under the law.

“Hindi pwede iyang antibiotics sa Lazada (Antibiotics are not allowed on Lazada). That is a violation of our Generics law and Cheaper Medicines Act,” noted Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“Prescription is a must. It is a requirement. You cannot have medicines, antibiotics delivered through Lazada as if it were an ordinary item.  We will file a case against Lazada if it is doing that,” Duque added.

The Department Secretary said if antibiotics would be made easily available on online shops, cases of anti-microbial resistance might soon get out of hand.

In a World Health Organization (WHO) report, seven thousand individuals die every year across the globe due to anti-microbial resistance or AMR.

AMR happens when a certain drug is no longer effective to fight or destroy microbes or parasite inside the human body due to over dosage or unprescribed intake of antibiotics.

For this reason, the DOH reminds the public to religiously follow the doctor’s prescription of a certain anti-biotics to benefit from it.

In line with this issue, the DOH will conduct its own investigation on reports about prescription drugs being sold online.

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