The government has not yet purchased stocks of the oral COVID-19 pill Paxlovid because Pfizer is requiring an indemnification law before it sells the life-saving drugs to the Philippines.
The indemnification law will absolve Pfizer of liabilities in case of serious side effects of the antiviral drug, which the World Health Organization on Friday strongly recommended its use for mild and moderate COVID-19 patients at highest risk of hospital admission.
“The government cannot import this drug because the company is asking for an indemnification law before it sells Paxlovid directly to the government. If a problem arises from taking Paxlovid, they want to be sure they cannot be sued,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
The WHO said on the same day that Paxlovid, a combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, is the best therapeutic choice for patients with non-severe COVID-19 who are at highest risk of developing severe disease and hospitalization, such as the unvaccinated, older, or immunocompromised.
The recommendation was based on trials involving 3,078 patients. The data showed that the risk of hospitalization was reduced by 85 percent with Paxlovid.
While the government does not have a stockpile of Paxlovid, Duque said several hospitals have been allowed to purchase and administer the said drug.
The Food and Drug Administration earlier granted an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s Paxlovid.
The FDA also earlier granted EUA to six brands of the anti-COVID drug molnupiravir: Molnarz (Faberco); Molnaflu (Medethix); Auxilto (German Quality Pharma); Molxvir (Sun Pharma); Molnatris (Mykan); and Molnupiravir Generic (Lloyd Laboratories/Dr. Zen’s Research). Willie Casas