Press Releases

Salceda calls on FDA to fast-track approval of emergency use authorizations for COVID retrovirals as House tax chair says shift to ‘old normal’ depends on ‘treatment, not complete prevention.’

December 8th, 2021

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to fast-track its emergency use approval (EUA) of retrovirals for COVID-19, such as molnupiravir, as the House tax chair says restoring normalcy to the economy “will now depend on how quickly and easily we can treat this disease, not necessarily on preventing every infection.”

“COVID-19 will almost certainly be a seasonal disease, if the experts are correct. The way to deal with this is to make COVID-19 an extremely curable, very normal disease with cheap at-home treatment,” Salceda said.

“Recently, the economic managers have said that the approach must now shift from pandemic to endemic. That involves a shift from mobility restrictions that try to completely prevent any infection, to an approach that treats COVID-19 as a very normal, as normal as getting a flu.”

“That involves making sure that we have the retrovirals, the treatment pills, widely available for use.”

Salceda added that “recent retrovirals have been ‘gamechangers’ to use the Health Department’s own declarations, even when the EUAs have not yet been granted.”

“Undersecretary Vergeire herself has said that 89 hospitals are already using molnupiravir, even without the EUA, with very favorable results. So I call on the FDA, which belongs to the same family, to make sure we have enough personnel and equipment to test and approve these retrovirals.”

“I expect more retrovirals to be developed as the other companies try to get in on the action.”

Virology Institute will be ‘crucial’

Salceda also called on the Senate to approve the charter of the Virology Institute of the Philippines, a presidential priority with a budget in the GAA 2022, and which was also principally authored by Salceda.

“I am calling on the Senate to approve the charter of the VIP. This is an urgent measure identified by President Duterte, along with the creation of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,” Salceda said.

“Having a Virology Institute ensures that we are ready for human pandemics. It will also help us develop and manufacture retrovirals and antivirals of our own,” Salceda added.

The campus of the VIP will be established in the New Clark City. The measure was identified as a priority by President Duterte in his 2021 State of the Nation Address.

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