First, there was news of faketocilizumab. Now, a policeman was caught illegally selling the drug, which hospitals use to treat severe cases of COVID-19.
According to the report, the nabbed police personnel was arrested in Quezon City during an operation set by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Aside from selling the drug illegally online, NBI found that police staff sergeant Ariel Yalung sold tocilizumab at more than three times its suggested price. Tocilizumab's suggested price is at P25,000, and Yalung was offering it online for P95,000.
PNP Chief Police General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar already ordered the investigation on Yalung's case and another cop accused of extorting money from the spouse of a detainee in San Mateo, Rizal.
“Ngayon pa lang ay tinitiyak ko na matatanggal sa serbisyo ang dalawa sa aming kasamahan dahil sa kalokohang kinasangkutan nila,” said Eleazar.
What is Tocilizumab?
Tocilizumab is often used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. But the "lab-generated antibody" shows potential in blocking "the interleukin-6 pathway, which can cause inflammation during COVID-19 and other diseases."
Tocilizumab received emergency use authorization from the U.S. FDA last June 24, 2021, as "an addition to the routine care patients receive for treatment of COVID-19."
Last year, the Philippine Food And Drug Administration issued a warning against the purchase and use of one of the tocilizumab's brands, Actemra. The local FDA says Actemra has yet to be registered by their agency, meaning they cannot guarantee its safety and quality. (Read more FDA advise on COVID-19 here.)
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