MANILA – Reports of the continued illegal online sale of Tocilizumab, a drug recommended for Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms, prompted the Philippine National Police (PNP) to order the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) to look into the matter. The CIDG and ACG are coordinating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said on Saturday, even as the Department of Health (DOH) said supply is scarce. “We appeal to our kababayan (countrymen) to immediately report to us if they monitor this online. We should take a united stand against Covid-19 and part of it is for us to work together against these people,” Eleazar said in a statement.
DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual briefing on Friday that manufacturer Roche admitted supply will be low until the end of the year. Tocilizumab has been recommended for Covid-19 treatment by the World Health Organization (WHO). It belongs to the class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies that are used in the treatment of various diseases, including cancers. WHO said it reduces the need for ventilators and medical oxygen. In the Philippines, Tocilizumab was allowed under a compassionate use permit by the FDA.
Meanwhile, the PNP reported the death of two more cops due to Covid-19, raising the total to 108 — a 50-year-old policeman assigned in Region 1 and a 39-year-old policewoman in Region 3. On Saturday, the PNP Health Service tallied an additional 243 cases and 206 recoveries.
A total of 106,174 PNP personnel or 46.68 percent of the target are fully vaccinated while 100,187 or 44.99 percent have the first dose.
Only 16,339 or 7.34 percent of police personnel have yet to be inoculated. (With a report from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)