Pharma firm offers space to produce Covid-19 test kits

A pharmaceutical company is offering a facility to reproduce testing kits to detect the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), a Palace official said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this statement as the government steps up its efforts to contain the highly-infectious disease by ensuring that more persons suspected of being Covid-19 are tested immediately.

“Mayroong isang pharmaceutical company na nag-alok na niyan, gagamitin ang kanilang lugar upang makapag-manufacture ng marami (There is a pharmaceutical company that offered that we use their place to manufacture more testing kits),” he said in an interview over DZMM on Sunday.

Citing Section 17 of Article 12, he also pointed out that “in times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately-owned public utility or business affected with the public interest.”

He welcomed the pharmaceutical company’s offer without the need for government intervention.

“Natutuwa kami na even without using that emergency power of the President, mayroong isang pharmaceutical company na pumayag at nag-alok ng sarili niya (We are pleased that even without using emergency power of the President, there is a pharmaceutical company that agreed and offered help),” he said.

Meanwhile, he also reassured the public that the government has sufficient funds for the reproduction of the test kits.

Earlier, Panelo said Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña denied that the DOST is calling for donations regarding access to test kits.

They urged those in the private sector who wish to donate funds to coordinate either with the Department of Health, Philippine General Hospital, Department of Social Welfare and Development, or local governments to ensure its rightful receipt and best use.

On Friday, UP President Danilo Concepcion said around 6,000 Covid-19 test kits developed by UP scientists are now in stock.

The detection kit, being manufactured and stockpiled by Manila HealthTek Inc., will cost around PHP1,320 per test, less expensive than the foreign kit which costs around PHP8,500 per test.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) earlier vowed to give PHP2 billion for the purchase of additional test kits

Currently, there are 4,500 test kits available in the country and 2,500 more are expected from the World Health Organization.

As of Sunday night, the DOH reported 140 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 12 deaths.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a "community quarantine" until April 14 to bar people outside Metro Manila from entering the region, unless they are workers, departing passengers, and individuals aboard vehicles carrying cargoes.

On the other hand, Metro Manila residents are required to observe strict social distancing and avoid mass gatherings.

Source: Philippines News Agency