Food and Drug Administration

FDA to continue probe on PSG use of smuggled vaccines

Sofia Tomacruz

SECURITY DETAIL. In this file photo, President Rodrigo Duterte attends the Presidential Security Guard's anniversary on June 28, 2017.

Malacañang photo

'Tutuloy naman po namin iyon according to the process laid out by FDA,' says FDA Director General Enrique Domingo

Food and Drug Administration Director General Enrique Domingo said on Wednesday, January 6, the agency will continue with its investigation into the Presidential Security Group’s use of unregistered COVID-19 vaccines. 

Domingo gave the update when asked if the FDA will push through with its probe following President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to bar his security detail from attending congressional hearings into the matter. 

Sabi naman ni Presidente ‘wag sila mag attend sa mga Congressional hearing. Ang FDA po meron namang set na proseso kung paano ito namin hina-handle at investigate ang mga complaints and reports na ganito and tutuloy naman po namin iyon according to the process laid out by FDA,” Domingo said in a virtual press briefing. 

(The President said they shouldn’t attend Congressional hearings. The FDA has a set process for how we handle and investigate complaints and reports like this and we will continue that according to the process laid out by FDA.)

Why it matters

The use of unregistered vaccines violates the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009 which prohibits the administering and distribution of vaccines not yet approved by regulatory authorities. 

Health officials and medical experts have been firm on their stand that the public should not be vaccinated with unregistered vaccines since the safety and efficacy of these products cannot be guaranteed without FDA approval. 

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Will PSG cooperate?

Malacañang earlier said it still expected the PSG to participate in investigations of executive branch agencies despite Duterte’s warning to lawmakers. 

Aside from the FDA, the National Bureau of Investigation was ordered to probe the use of illegally obtained vaccines in the Philippines. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said the NBI’s investigation would not zero in on the PSG or any particular incident of unauthorized vaccinations, though he told reporters that “the general includes the particular.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, called off its probe into PSG personnel, citing Duterte’s recent pronouncement. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.