Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Anti-Cybercrime Group to look into reports of continued illegal online sale of tocilizumab, a drug recommended for COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms.
“We appeal to our kababayan to immediately report to us if they monitor this online. We should take a united stand against COVID-19 and part of it is for us to work together against these people,” Eleazar said in a statement.
The country is facing supply shortage of tocilizumab, which was allowed in the Philippines as COVID-19 treatment under a compassionate use permit by the Food and Drug Administration.
Melissa Guerrero, program manager of the Department of Health’s pharmaceutical division, said supply is expected to remain limited until December.
“The manufacturer has already notified us that there will really be some severe stockouts until December,” she said.
The DOH has already written to the Philippine embassies in Switzerland and the United States to seek help in obtaining even just a portion of their reserve allocations.
Tocilizumab has been recommended for COVID-19 treatment by the World Health Organization.
It belongs to the class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies that are used in the treatment of various diseases, including cancers.
WHO said it reduces the need for ventilators and medical oxygen.