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FDA asks tocilizumab maker for more supply


MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines (FDA) is asking the pharmaceutical company producing the anti-inflammatory drug tocilizumab now being used to treat COVID-19 patients for more supply as the country faces an increase in new coronavirus cases, FDA chief Eric Domingo said Friday.

This, after the Department of Health admitted facing challenges in sourcing the said drug due to competition worldwide.

“Yung kompanya na may-ari ng innovator drug, yung sa Roche, talagang kinausap na namin na kung maaari magdagdag ng supply dito dahil worldwide yung shortage,” Domingo said in a televised briefing when asked about efforts to address the shortage of tocilizumab in the country.

(The company that owns the innovator drug, Roche, we have talked to them if they can add more supply here because the shortage is happening worldwide.)

Roche produces the drug tocilizumab under the product names Actemra or RoActemra.

“Since in shortage nga siya, binigyan natin, sinama natin doon sa drugs emergency use na maaari silang kumuha ng CPR [certificate of product registration] na bago and meron na rin pong nag-apply sa atin at na-approve na generic na component nitong tocilizumab para makarating po ang maraming supplies dito sa Pilipinas,” he added.

(Since it’s in shortage, we have included it in the drugs under emergency use that may secure a CPR. Another distributor has applied to us and we have already approved so that more supplies will arrive here in the country.)

Domingo told INQUIRER.net the product name is Temziva which is distributed by Biocare Lifesciences Inc.

Biocare Lifesciences Inc. reportedly started distributing Temziva in the Philippines in April 2021.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tocilizumab is being used to treat rheumatoid arthritis but has been examined as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

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