MANILA, Mar 26 (Mabuhay) — The Palace assured the public on Friday that the Department of Health (DOH) has enough funding to buy drugs and other medicines needed to treat COVID-19 patients.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque was responding to the query on how would the government address the dwindling supply of tocilizumab and remdesivir—two of the medicines used to treat COVID-19 patients—as reported by the Department of Health on Thursday.

Zuellig Pharma Philippines also issued a March 19 memo informing its clients that tocilizumab is out of stock.

“We will get in touch with DOH because they have the authority under the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws to directly import products without passing thru the Government Procurement Act when it comes to securing support for drugs and other medicines that we need in our COVID-19 response,” Roque said.

Roque was referring to the measures which allowed the Executive department to realign P275 billion of the national budget to address the COVID-19 pandemic (Bayanihan 1) and the P165 billion stimulus package (Bayanihan 2) designed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Inaasahan natin na ‘yung pinabilis na procurement process ang magiging lunas sa kakulangan ng ilang mga gamot na kinakailangan natin para gamutin ‘yung nagkakasakit ng COVID-19,” he added.

(We expect that the speedy procurement process will address the said shortage of medicines that we need to treat COVID-19 patients.)

Earlier in the day, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the DOH already coordinated with the distributor and maker of tocilizumab, Zuellig Pharma and Roche, as well as the supplier of remdesivir, and assured the public that supplies for such will be arriving within the month.

The Philippines has recorded 4,000 to 8,000 new COVID-19 cases per day in the last two weeks.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the country is at 99,891 following a record-setting 8,773 new COVID-19 cases posted last March 25. (MNS)

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