Pharma 911: Drugs for Emergency Use in the Philippines

The Firm’s Sophie Cruz-Abrenica, Ma. Patricia Cruz, and Camille Mendoza explore different rules and regulations on the manufacture and distribution of new and unregistered drugs in the Philippines, especially during a national health crisis, in the Lexology article “Pharma 911: Drugs for emergency use in the Philippines.”


Initially approved for treating influenza strains, the oral antiviral drug Favipiravir was developed in Japan and has now been approved for use against COVID-19 in China, Russia, India and United States. While Favipiravir is reported to have received an emergency use authorization for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 cases, it is not included in the list of drugs under emergency use (DEU) in the Philippines. The non-inclusion of the drug Favipiravir in the DEU list leaves local manufacturers at a disadvantage because it hinders them from manufacturing the drug, thereby limiting the supply of the drug in the Philippine market desperate for a treatment for COVID-19.  As we rush to find the solution to the current pandemic, allowing the license to manufacture the said drug by local manufacturers will allow wider access of the general public to the drug and clinical trials which will increase the evaluation of safety and efficacy of the drug.  Especially in a public health emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs and welfare of the public should be of paramount consideration.


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