Indemnification hinders PH bulk imports of Paxlovid

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2022 02:29 PM

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A pharmacist displays a case of Paxlovid, a COVID-19 treatment pills developed by Pfizer Inc., at a drugstore in Seoul, South Korea, 21 February 2022. The age restriction on the administration of the pills to those with underlying diseases was lowered to 40 from 50. EPA-EFE/YONHAP
A pharmacist displays a case of Paxlovid, a COVID-19 treatment pills developed by Pfizer Inc., at a drugstore in Seoul, South Korea, 21 February 2022. The age restriction on the administration of the pills to those with underlying diseases was lowered to 40 from 50. EPA-EFE/YONHAP


MANILA – The absence of an indemnification law is hindering the Philippine government from importing large numbers of COVID-19 drug Paxlovid in the country, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said Friday.

The Food and Drug Administration last month approved Paxlovid for emergency use.

“Hindi tayo makapag-angkat nang maramihan dahil ang hinihingi ng kumpanya para magbenta sila ng Paxlovid direktamenta sa gobyerno dapat may indemnification law, na kung sakaling may problema sa paggamit ng Paxlovid sinisigurado sila na hindi sila hahabulin, hindi sila madedemanda,” Duque said during a televised press briefing.

(We can’t import in large quantities because the company requires an indemnification law if they will sell directly to government in the event that if there’s a problem with the drug, it is not liable.)

The EUA for Paxlovid allows hospitals to import the drug on their own, Duque added.

According to its manufacturer Pfizer, the use of Paxlovid is for adult COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms who are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19.

There are “ongoing discussions” between the Philippine government and Pfizer on the procurement of the COVID-19 treatment, Health Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

“When a country procures… from an international manufacturer, ito may limitasyon po ang Pilipinas because of specific laws in the country kaya hanggang sa ngayon in discussion pa rin tayo,” she said.

(When a country procures… from an international manufacturer, it has limitations because of specific laws, that’s why until now we’re still in discussion with Pfizer.)

The country’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement from Pfizer was also delayed last year due to the lack of an indemnity deal.

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