Ex-DOH chief belies advocating use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19

Published September 22, 2020, 10:46 AM

by Noreen Jazul

Former Health Secretary Jaime Galvez Tan belied reports that he advocated the use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent and treat COVID-19.

Former Health Secretary Jaime Galvez Tan
(National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, India / MANILA BULLETIN)

Tan issued the statement Tuesday after some websites reported that he endorsed the use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19 during the “Flatten the Fear” event, which was organized by the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC-PH).

Tan also denied reports that he is the leader of the CDC-PH.

“I am not the person leading the ‘Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines’ group. I also did not organize the ‘Flatten the Fear’ event,” he said.

Tan added that he was merely a participant in the event.

The doctor denied endorsing “hydroxychloroquine as prophylaxis to prevent, or as treatment to COVID-19 infection” in the event.

Tan clarified that the endorsement to use hydroxychloroquine was “wrongly attributed to him.”

“It was entirely the opinion of the persons who made them during the ‘Flatten the Fear’ event,” he said.

Tan said what he discussed during the event was how to address the COVID-19 “through a whole-of-society, whole-of-government, and whole-of-systems approach.”

Tan said the public can read his recommendations on how to prevent COVID-19 through the booklet called “Labanan ang COVID-19,” published by Health Futures Foundation, Inc.

“I encourage everyone to share this resource material, which can be downloaded from the following link: http://www.healthfuturesfoundation.com/COVID-19,” he said.

The former DOH chief also clarified that he wore a mask during the event, and only removed it when he had to eat and talk on stage.

“I was not among those participants who deliberately did not wear face masks because they were allegedly on prophylaxis, as some news reports stated,” Tan said.

“I reiterate that wearing face masks—as the Department of Health, World Health Organization, and public health experts worldwide prescribe—should be done to fight against COVID-19,” he added.