Drilon: FDA's compassionate permit for Sinopharm vaccines not for a battalion

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the compassionate permit issued by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of 10,000 doses of Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccines is not applicable in the case of the Presidential Security Group (PSG). 

Senator Franklin Drilon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Drilon said patients can only apply for a compassionate permit for a certain drug if they are terminally ill and the medicine is not available in the Philippines.

“Yung compassionate use permit, iyan po ay nangyayari sa isa-isang gamut. Halimbawa, may prescription for a cancer drug na kailangan ng isang pasyente pero hindi available dito sa bansa at walang EUA (emergency use authorization),  (That is only applicable to a certain drug. For example, there’s a prescription for a cancer drug that a patient has to acquire but it’s not available in the country and there is no EUA.),” Drilon explained.

“Ang pasyente ay pwedeng mag-apply ng compassionate use permit at bilhin niya yung gamut. Hindi po iyan pwede sa isang battalion (That patient can apply for a compassionate use permit and buy the medicine. But it does not apply to a whole battalion),” Drilon explained in an interview over Radio DZBB.

“Mayroong ganoong authorization pero iyan ay paisa-isa (That’s a kind of authorization but that is for certain drugs)—for individual needs—hindi isang (not for a) battalion. To me that is a clear system to go around the law,” the minority leader said referring to the FDA’s decision.

Last Feb. 11, FDA Director General Eric Domingo said the PSG applied for a compassionate special permit last January 18 and only recently completed all requirements.

Domingo said the PSG Hospital is taking full responsibility for the vaccines and will report the utilization and outcomes to the FDA.

According to the FDA director general, the permit issued for Sinopharm vaccines, a pharmaceutical firm owned by the Chinese government, is only for “future use” and covers a one-time importation.

The PSG had earlier admitted to vaccinating some of its members sometime in September to October 2020 before securing any government approvals.  Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque had defended the PSG’s COVID-19 vaccination ahead of the government’s official vaccination program, saying they need to be inoculated “because their job is to provide security for the President.”