REMDESIVIR PURCHASE. Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso (right) and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan announce that the city government has purchased 2,000 vials of Remdesivir on Thursday (Aug. 13, 2020). Remdesivir is believed to shorten the treatment time for Covid-19 patients. (Screengrab from Isko Moreno Domagoso FB page)
MANILA – The city government of Manila has acquired 2,000 vials of Remdesivir, a drug believed to shorten the time to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients.
In an online briefing on Thursday, Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said upon learning of this information, they immediately decided to purchase the drug.
“We found out that Remdesivir, one of the drugs being utilized in the United States, helps Covid-19-positive (patients) to recover faster and better. We’re happy to inform you, we bought a very expensive product from abroad, Remdesivir. Tayo po ay bumili ng 2,000 vials ng Remdesivir na ginagamit na rin sa ibang bansa (We bought 2,000 vials of Remdesivir, which is now also being used in other countries),” Domagoso said.
He said the city government acquired the 2,000 vials for PHP13 million at PHP6,500 each, much lower than its original price of nearly PHP20,000 each.
However, Domagoso clarified that this is not yet the vaccine that they are waiting for.
He said, for now, this drug would be used for Covid-19 patients with mild, moderate, and especially those with severe symptoms.
Remdesivir will be distributed to the six public hospitals in the city.
Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan, who is also a medical doctor, explained that Remdesivir was originally used for the Ebola virus.
At the onset of the pandemic early this year, studies were made if Remdesivir could be used to treat those infected with the disease.
Lacuna-Pangan said many hospitals abroad and even here in the Philippines have begun using Remdesivir.
“They say that this medicine shortens the time of sickness and lessens the symptoms. Because of this, we decided that all the six public hospitals of the city will be given these drugs to treat patients who are considered at risk,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Lacuna-Pangan noted that the medicine may only be administered in the hospitals and may not be used at home.
Domagoso said it is not easy to purchase Remdesivir but with the help of the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, the city government was granted a compassionate special permit.
The drug might be expensive but the probability of a Covid-19 patient’s recovery is higher and is thus a big help to medical workers in treating their patients, he said.
“Bawat buhay – buhay ng mahirap, middle class, mayaman – pare-pareho lang ang value nyan (Every life – whether you are poor, middle class, or wealthy – has the same value),” Domagoso said.
He said the city is ready to acquire more vials of the drug as the need arises.
The city government has earlier allotted PHP200 million for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines once it becomes available and is approved by health authorities. (PNA)