“We are studying the case,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said while noting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long issued a cease and desist order against the use of the Fabunan vaccine. / PCOO
MANILA, Philippines — Doctors selling and injecting people with the antiviral “Fabunan” vaccine may lose their medical license and face other charges.
The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday reported that the government is readying legal action against the people behind the unregistered vaccine.
“We are studying the case,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said while noting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long issued a cease and desist order against the use of the Fabunan vaccine.
Until this time, Vergeire said, the manufacturer has not applied for a certified product registration (CPR) from the FDA.
Vergeire said FDA has jurisdiction over non-registration of drugs or medicine while the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) supervises medical professionals.
Recently, a video claiming that the Fabunan vaccine has been “proven to treat COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019)” went viral on social media.
There were other social media posts allegedly showing the Fabunan vaccine costing about P3,000 and being given to residents of Zambales.
Since Fabunan is unregistered, health officials said it is illegal to sell, distribute, promote or advertise its use.
Meanwhile, Vergeire said the Philippines is preparing to join the Avigan clinical trial amid doubts over its efficacy as a treatment against COVID-19.
“It is important for the Philippines to participate and contribute to the knowledge base for this investigational drug,” Vergeire said.
Vergeire said it is too early to conclude if Avigan is ineffective or not.
Evidence of Avigan’s efficacy, Vergeire said, is lacking at this time because trials are still ongoing.
Japan has started using the anti-influenza drug to treat COVID-19 patients and the Philippine government expressed its desire to participate in the clinical trials by tapping 100 volunteer patients infected with the coronavirus.
Last week, however, reports came out that Avigan has so far not shown the needed efficacy in treating COVID-19 in Japan.