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Mikey Arroyo wants to be Sinopharm distributor?
Sen. Risa Hontiveros raised the matter at the resumption yesterday of the inquiry of the Senate committee of the whole into the Duterte administration’s mass vaccination program, where she presented separate emails sent to FDA director general Eric Domingo and the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP), both coming from a certain Juan Miguel Arroyo of LTA Inc.
AFP/Joel Saget

Mikey Arroyo wants to be Sinopharm distributor?

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, with his family-owned LTA Inc., is seeking to be a distributor of vaccines from the state-owned Sinopharm of China.

Hontiveros raised the matter at the resumption yesterday of the inquiry of the Senate committee of the whole into the Duterte administration’s mass vaccination program, where she presented separate emails sent to FDA director general Eric Domingo and the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP), both coming from a certain Juan Miguel Arroyo of LTA Inc.

The emails had no message but had two attachments about Sinopharm, Hontiveros said.

“Domingo said Arroyo apparently wanted to share some information on a vaccine that might be useful to the FDA and I suggested to email and also to the VEP,” Domingo told the senators.

He said Arroyo did send an email to the VEP, which inquired  with the lawmaker his intention on the matter.

“There was no further communication after that,” he added.

The FDA chief said LTA Inc. has not filed any application for license to operate as a pharmaceutical company nor has Sinopharm applied for emergency use authorization with the agency to allow the use of its vaccines in the country.

Hontiveros, however, pressed further and said she was disturbed by what she described as “overtures” of LTA Inc. because of the firm’s “checkered track record,” it being helmed by former first gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

She asked Domingo whether or not it appeared “unseemly” that a company associated with a sitting legislator may have financial interests in a vaccine brand.

“I did not find it very unusual when he offered information on a vaccine. We often receive inquiries from congressmen, mayors, governors, about certain products and/or certain facilities, so I did not find it unusual actually,” Domingo replied.

CDA with Curevac

Also yesterday, Science Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said a 12th confidentiality data agreement (CDA) has been signed with German biotech firm Curevac that could pave the way for the conduct of clinical trials for its candidate COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines.

He said Curevac was one of two German firms developing their own COVID-19 vaccine, the other being IDT Biologika, that the Task Group on Vaccine Selection and Review approved last week.

The signing of Curevac brings to 12 the foreign entities that have a CDA with the government. The others are Janssen, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Gamaleya, Sinopharm, Anhui Zhifei, University of Queensland, Adimmune Corp, Academia Sinica, Tianyuan Biopharma and Bhagat Biotech. – Rainier Allan Ronda

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