Senator Pia S. Cayetano today said that the private sector may procure and bring in COVID-19 vaccines into the country from registered pharmaceutical companies, as long as they comply with standards set by government authorities and existing laws.
Cayetano issued the clarification as a co-sponsor in the Senate of Republic Act 11494, or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act,
“The government has no exclusive authority to procure and import COVID-19 vaccines. This is not debatable. The provision under Bayanihan 2 clearly states this,” the senator stressed.
She was referring to Section 12 of the Bayanihan 2 law, which states: “Nothing in this Act shall prohibit private entities from conducting research, developing, manufacturing, importing, distributing or selling COVID-19 vaccine sourced from registered pharmaceutical companies, subject to the provisions of this Act and existing laws, rules and regulations.”
Cayetano acknowledged that the private sector has been the government’s reliable partner in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Section 12, she noted, waives the requirement of Phase IV trials to expedite the procurement of said medication and vaccine, provided that the latter were recommended and approved by the World Health Organization and/or other international health agencies.
The same section likewise mandates that the minimum standards for the distribution of the said vaccines shall be set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC).
Finally, she said that Section 12 of Bayanihan 2 will remain in effect three months from December 19, 2020, or until March 19, 2021.#