THE Department of Health (DOH) urged the public to be cautious of organizations or individuals claiming to sell or offer any coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines.
In a joint statement with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF), DOH reminds the public that the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted to any Covid-19 vaccine is neither a marketing authorization nor a Certificate of Product Registration.
“This means that the vaccines cannot be sold to or purchased by the public,” said DOH.
On its website, DOH said that the public cannot purchase Covid-19 vaccines from private clinics or pharmacies.
“At present, only the government is duly authorized to procure and administer vaccines. Until a full market authorization is issued by the Philippine FDA, any COVID-19 vaccine should not be sold to the public,” said DOH.
According to DOH, the EUA is an authorization granted through a risk-based procedure for assessing unregistered (under development) vaccines or drugs during public health emergencies of international concern.
“It aims to expedite the availability of the vaccine or drug to people affected by public health emergency based on an essential set of available quality, safety, and efficacy performance data,” said DOH.
In the same joint statement, the three national government agencies also warned organizations and individuals who will participate in the unlawful sale, purchase, administration of Covid-19 vaccines, saying that these unlawful acts are prohibited and will be penalized under the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009.
Violators may be convicted of imprisonment from one to 10 years or a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P500,000.
If the offender is a manufacturer, importer, or distributor, the penalty is at least five years up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of at least P500,000 but not more than P5,000,000.
“There will be an additional fine of one percent of the economic value or cost of the product or the violation of P1,000, whichever is higher, for each day of continuing violation,” said DOH, FDA, and NTF.
The product may also be seized by the FDA without hearing or court order. (NRC/With PR, WBS)