"This desperation for treatment is one of the symptoms of a horribly inadequate public healthcare system."
We understand the government has gone to great lengths to secure all sorts of available vaccines needed to reach herd immunity against COVID-19.
It is said that the vaccination of at least 70 percent of the country’s 110 million population will prevent the rest of the Filipinos from contracting the disease.
Just as important as prevention is finding a cure to the pestilence to treat those infected with COVID-19 which have continued to grow in number. They have now exceeded 1.11 million.
Health authorities have it that there is no cure yet discovered for COVID-19.
But remdesivir, one of the drugs used to “treat” or help improve the condition of COVID-19 patients, remains inaccessible to the public as it is not approved yet by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO says there is still no evidence indicating that remdesivir is beneficial in treating coronavirus patients.
Locally it is not approved yet by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as by the Department of Health.
The DOH says remdesivir is not a registered drug but it is up to both public and private hospitals to procure and use it as one of the remedies in COVID-19 patient care.
DOH Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire, who said DOH has not procured remdesivir during a recent congressional hearing, did not elaborate on how beneficial the said drug is in treating COVID-19.
There are several clinical trials underway abroad to determine how safe and effective remdesivir is against coronavirus.
As an “investigation drug,” hospitals may use remdesivir by securing a Compassionate Special Permit from the FDA.
However, smuggled remdesivir has reportedly flooded the black market.
Its scarcity or limited supply, which may be manipulated by a cartel, dictates its steep price.
While remdesivir is sold in other countries for a price equivalent to P800, it costs around P8,000 in the country.
Those responsible for smuggling, hoarding and selling remdesivir in the country are obviously making a killing.
Unfortunately, the public health crisis like the COVID pandemic provides the demonic profiteers to take advantage of the situation for their selfish gain, just like they have made a multi-million peso business out of the RT-PCR tests.
Clearly, this desperation for treatment against a pestilence is one of the symptoms of a horribly inadequate public healthcare system.
The two years that preceded the COVID pandemic, the DOH proved helpless against the mosquito-borne dengue epidemic in the country that killed tens of thousands, mostly children.
Now, quite a number of Filipinos are still anxious to get vaccinated and one of the reasons is DOH lack of credibility.
Meanwhile, some culprits are making a killing by selling remdesivir under the nose of the authorities.