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

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2021   •   119

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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Umano’y nasayang na supply ng COVID-19 vaccine sa Cotabato, iniimbestigahan na — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Iniimbestigahan na ng Department of Health (DOH) ang napaulat na pagkasayang umano ng supply ng COVID-19 vaccine na ipinadala sa bayan ng Makilala sa Cotabato.

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, nasa 348 doses ng Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines ang umano’y nasayang matapos mapabayaan sa loob ng freezer nang magkaroon ng power outage sa lugar.

Paalala naman ng kagawaran sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na bantayang maigi ang kanilang COVID-19 vaccine supply upang matiyak ang wastong temperature sa pag-iimbak nito.

“Hindi lang po isang beses isang araw ang ginagawang pagmo-monitor ng temperatura ng bakuna. Ito po ay ginagawa kada apat na oras,” ani Vergeire.

Nakipag-ugnayan na aniya sila sa lokal na pamahalaan kaugnay ng insidente.

“As to the sanctions, they were already advised and the local government has been coordinated with by our regional Office,” ang wika ni Vergeire. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

DOH working closely with BFP, other agencies to monitor hospitals after PGH fire

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it is closely coordinating with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and other concerned government agencies to prevent further fire incidents in hospitals amid the dry season and the coronavirus pandemic.

In a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have reached out to the BFP, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and local government units (LGU) to place hospitals under close monitoring.

“Tayo po ay nakipag-coordinate sa iba’t ibang ahensya concerned katulad po ng DILG and local governments and also to coordinated with the Bureau of Fire Protection para magkaroon po ng monitoring across al[l our hospitals because we know that fire incidents are highest during the summer season,” she said.

Vergeire issued the statement after a fire hit part of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) on Sunday.

The fire has directly affected a portion of one floor of PGH.

Vergeire said at least 12 patients were referred for transfer to other DOH hospitals. As of Monday, eight patients had already been transferred while the remaining four were being processed.

The DOH has also distributed K95 and N95 masks to the PGH since all of its personnel were required to wear this for 48 hours as smoke from the fire could still linger in the area.

“We were able to provide K95 and N95 masks to the PGH para kanilang magamit sa kanilang personnel because they were required to wear N95 masks for 48 hours kahit wala po sila doon as COVID areas because of the lingering o naka-suspend pa siyempre yung mga smoke diyan galing sa pagkakasunog,” she said.

“Ngayon po ating pinagtitibay (monitoring) para ma-prevent na po natin yung mga further incidents like this in the future,” Vergeire said.

Phl logs 5,790 new COVID-19 cases, bringing total to 1,143,963

Maris Federez   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday confirmed that the Philippines has recorded 5,790 new cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the active cases to 54,904.

This means that the country has recorded a total of 1,143, 963 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday, 4 pm.

The DOH also reported 7,541 new recoveries. This has brought the total number of Filipinos who recovered from the viral infection to 1,069,868.

The health department also logged 140 more deaths from the fatal disease,  DOHbringing the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 19,191.

The DOH said the low number of new cases was due to the low testing output of laboratories on May 14.

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