DOH, DTI investigate complaints on overpricing of Remdesivir

Published June 1, 2021, 1:56 PM

by Analou de Vera

A vial of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir. The Department of Health says it has received complaints from patients that some hospitals are overpricing the drug. (AFP/Ulrich Perrey)

The Department of Health (DOH) warned the public against overpricing Remdesivir, an investigational drug used in treating coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

“There were a lot of consumer and patient complaints…. several patients were charged with high prices of Remdesivir,” said DOH Pharmaceutical Division Chief Dr. Anna Melissa Guerrero on Tuesday, June 1 in an online forum.

“Right now, most of the issues or complaints we received are on COVID-19 investigational drugs,” she added.

The suggested retail price for Remdesivir per vial is between P1,500 to P8,200, said Guerrero. The use of the antiviral drug requires a compassionate use permit from the Food and Drug Administration.

“May P30,000 (that is being sold) per vial when we know we can source the product from India as low as P2,000 or P3,000, meron pa ngang (and even) P1,000. So it is unreasonable to really charge a price on that range,” said Guerrero.

The health official said that they already received about 50 complaints regarding the overpricing of Remdesivir.

“We are now working with the Department of Trade and Industry to investigate these complaints,” said Guerrero.

DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo assured that they will investigate the matter.

“Yung sources muna nila ang kailangan namin tingnan (We need to look at their sources first) before we can conclusively say that they violated the Suggested Retail Price imposed by DOH. Right now, ongoing investigations pa iyan. We would update once we received replies or once we have made any conclusions on the prices of Remdesivir,” she said.