India ready to supply Philippines with affordable Covid-19 drugs

A pharmacy worker shows pills of hydroxychloroquine © REUTERS/Yves Herman. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, Jun 11, 2020, PhilStar. India has expressed readiness to supply the Philippines with affordable medicines and pharmaceutical products used for coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19, The Philippine Star reported.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed the commitment during his phone conversation with President Duterte last Tuesday, a statement by the Office of Presidential Protocol and Office of Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs said. The 25-minute phone conversation, described by Malacañang as “engaging and productive,” was requested by Indian government.

“Prime Minister Modi assured the supply of affordable medicines and COVID-19 pharmaceutical products to the Philippines, including Hydroxychloroquine,” the statement read.

“Prime Minister Modi likewise said that India is ready to extend all possible cooperation to the Philippines and that the Philippines will definitely benefit from the vaccine that India is developing,” it added.

During the conversation, Duterte recognized India’s leading role as global producer and source of affordable and accessible medicine and commended Modi for allowing India’s export of pharmaceutical products. The decision, Duterte said, demonstrated India’s “commitment to cooperation and to good neighborliness.”

The Philippine leader also praised India’s efforts to manage the pandemic, saying the country’s 2.82 percent fatality rate is among the lowest in the world. Modi, the statement claimed, congratulated Duterte for his leadership and for the “effective management of the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines.”

The two leaders vowed to cooperate in the fight against COVID-19 and reaffirmed their commitment to harness international and bilateral cooperation to effectively respond to the pandemic. They also cited the importance of sharing valuable lessons and best practices on addressing the virus, which has so far infected seven million people worldwide.

“Both leaders conveyed appreciation for the mutual assistance extended in the repatriation of Filipino and Indian nationals affected by the lockdown measures during the pandemic,” the statement said.

Duterte and Modi likewise agreed to further strengthen cooperation through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India Dialogue Partnership. Duterte said the mechanism can boost collaborations in strengthening public health systems and food security. The Philippine leader also urged India to support the ASEAN Response Fund for COVID-19, the statement said.

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