MANILA — Health authorities on Wednesday warned the public about the spread of bogus oral COVID-19 treatments such as molnupiravir, advising them not to buy drugs from unauthorized sources, noting the possible health risks of such drugs.
In a statement, the Department of Health (DOH) said it had received information about “possible” counterfeit versions of the antiviral drug molnupiravir.
“Remember that there is no guarantee that molnupiravir sold from unauthorized sources is authentic and the purchase of such products may pose serious health risks to the consumer,” the DOH statement read. .
“It is your doctor who will help you secure your medications and ensure that they are authentic by referring you to authorized sellers,” the agency added.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously issued a statement condemning the “increasing sales” of experimental COVID-19 treatment through “unlicensed” vendors.
Last month, the drug regulator approved Molnarz’s molnupiravir for emergency use in the treatment of COVID-19 cases.
The DOH said molnupiravir can only be used “under the supervision of a licensed physician” and under certain conditions.
“Molnupiravir is safe and effective when used in the right patients and given for up to 5 days,” the statement said.
“Inappropriate use of the drug can cause harm, especially if used in the wrong target population, for more than 5 days, or in patients who do not have confirmed COVID-19 infection,” he added.
The FDA reminded the public that the EUA prohibits the commercial sale of molnupiravir, which is why some establishments selling it online may be illicit sellers.
“Purchasing medications from unlicensed establishments or over the internet can pose serious health risks. Additionally, medication purchased from an unlicensed establishment or online cannot be guaranteed to be authentic and may not contain any ingredients active ingredient, too much or too little active ingredient, which can lead to the condition/illness not being treated properly,” the agency said.
Meanwhile, infectious disease expert Dr Edsel Salvana has advised the public against the unauthorized use of Pfizer’s oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid.
Paxlovid is nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and death rates, and data suggests it retains efficacy against the omicron variant, Pfizer said.
The COVID-19 pill, when used with viagra “and similar erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs,” Salvana said, could cause a prolonged erection, among other things.
“Mixing Paxlovid with Viagra and similar erectile dysfunction (ED) medications can lead to unpredictably high levels of the erectile dysfunction drug, leading to low blood pressure and dangerous levels of…prolonged erection,” a he said in a Facebook post.
“The ritonavir component of this drug has multiple potentially dangerous drug interactions, including interactions with certain cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins), steroids, rifampin (used for tuberculosis),” he added.
The country is experiencing a new wave of new COVID-19 cases most likely caused by the omicron variant.
On Wednesday, the Philippines confirmed nearly 23,000 new infections, bringing active cases to more than 270,000.