MANILA, May 11 (Mabuhay) — Malacañang on Monday defended the decision of the Department of Health (DOH) to prescribe Remdesivir as a Covid-19 treatment despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) advisory against its use.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said a WHO advisory against the use of Remdesivir in Covid-19 is not the sole basis of health authorities to discontinue the use of the drug.

“Hindi lang naman po WHO ang tinitignan natin. Tinitignan po natin talaga yung actual clinical trials na ginagawa on Remdesivir (It’s not just the WHO we’re looking at. We are also looking at actual clinical trials being conducted on remdesivir),” he said in a press briefing from Davao City,

Roque pointed out that the use of a certain drug may be prescribed as long as it has received either an emergency use authorization (EUA) or a compassionate special permit (CSP) from Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Well, hindi naman po requirement ang WHO approval. Ang importante po yung EUA or compassionate use permit na ini-issue ng ating FDA. Kung meron pong EUA issued by the WHO, ‘yan po ay mapapabilis lang ang proseso ng pagbigay din ng EUA (Having a WHO approval is not a requirement. What is important is the EUA or CSP being issued by the FDA. If the WHO has issued an EUA, the process of FDA giving an EUA will be hastened),” he added.

He said Remdesivir has helped him recover when he contracted Covid-19 a second time. He announced that he was hospitalized for Covid-19 last April 10.

“Ang totoo po, nagpaalam na ako sa daigdig na ito nung pangatlong araw ng aking pagkakasakit. Ganun po kasama yung aking pakiramdam. Pero nung binigyan po ako ng dalawang dosage ng remdiesivir, pang-apat na araw ay nakatayo na po ako (The truth is, I already said goodbye to this world during my third day being sick. That’s how bad I felt. But when I was given two dosages of remdesivir, I was already able to get up on my fourth day),” he said.

He said he was even able to hold a short press briefing to announce the country’s new quarantine classifications at that time.

“Hindi po full-blown press briefing ang ginawa ko nun, pero kung maalala niyo, nung araw ng Linggo, binasa ko na yung quarantine classifications so ganun po kabilis ang aking recovery after two dosage of remdesivir (I did not hold a full-blown briefing, but if you remember, it was a Sunday, I read the quarantine classifications so that’s how fast I recovered after two dosages of remdesivir),” he added.

Last week, Deputy Speaker and 1Sagip Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta chided the DOH for failing to heed the WHO advice against the use of remdesivir, describing it as a “highly-priced drug’ that cost between PHP16,000 and PHP48,000 per shot.” (MNS)