By Billy Begas
Deputy Speaker and Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera on Thursday asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand the list of medicines that can be used to COVID-19 patients.
“It’s important that we make all medicines available and accessible kasi doctors din naman ang magde-desisyon kung ano ang gagamitin nila for a particular patient. I don’t think we should limit it but of course kayo po ang experts diyan,” Herrera said during the hearing of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.
FDA Director General Eric Domingo said the agency is exploring the possibilities.
“Pwede naman nating tingnan kung paano i-expand yung DEU. As of now, in-expand po natin siya to the leading guidelines na maraming grupo ang kasama and I hope that more groups will be able to join it para maisama doon sa guidelines…” Domingo said.
Herrera said the goal should always be for COVID-19 treatment protocols and prevention accessible and affordable to Filipinos.
Meanwhile, Herrera called on the FDA and Department of Health (DOH) to strengthen the capacity of local drug manufacturers to address the pharmaceutical needs of the public, especially in times of national health emergencies.
She pointed out that FDA’s establishment of COVID-19 protocols would be for naught if the recommended drugs will not be available.
“We will only create despair to the FIlipino people when we say ‘o, eto yung magpapagaling sa iyo pero walang available sa bansa natin,’” Herrera said.
Herrera added that local pharmaceutical firms are capable of producing most of the recommended drugs for COVID-19 patients but these companies are having a hard time going through the bureaucracy of the FDA.
“Parang lumalabas mas madali pang mag-import kesa tulungan natin ‘yung ating local pharma to register their drugs here,” said Herrera. “Kapag ginamit natin ‘yung local pharma natin, mas marami ang supply, it could be cheaper at magiging mas accessible ang mga gamot natin.”