Rama to meet WestVac reps on Thursday
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama will be meeting the representatives of WestVac Biopharma Co. Ltd. on October 21, 2021, to discuss issues regarding clinical trials being conducted in Cebu City.
The acting mayor earlier ordered the trials suspended since the city government was not informed of the trial being done on residents.
In a phone interview with CDN Digital on October 19, 2021, Rama confirmed that WestVac BioPharma has sought an audience with him on Wednesday, but it was later moved to Thursday.
Rama said he wants an explanation on the clinical trial and coordination with the Cebu City Health Department (CHD) in the conduct of this trial with city residents.
“In a matter of informing constituents, we have territorial jurisdiction. This is not an ordinary activity, that’s why it is important nga ang Syudad sa Sugbo, ang local government, nakahibaw,” said the acting mayor.
The city government may be seeking a memorandum of agreement with WestVac to ensure that their trial will not be getting in the way of the vaccination efforts of the city government.
The trial is expected to include 800 unvaccinated individuals who have not been infected with any variant of the COVID-19.
As for the order of the acting mayor to suspend all activities relating to the clinical trial until there is coordination between WestVac and Cebu City, Rama said this must be complied with immediately.
Perpetual Succour Hospital (PSH), the site for the clinical trial, said they are waiting for the official order of Acting Mayor Rama following the public pronouncement.
“As far as I know, Perpetual Succour Hospital has not received any notice or order from the Office of the City Mayor to stop the clinical trial. On the other hand, I would like to make clear that PSH is only the site of the clinical trial and not the proponent nor its investigator. PSH will act appropriately should it receive a notice or order from the city government,” said Lawyer Rey Bael, the legal counsel of PSH, in an e-mail to CDN Digital.
Rama said that PSH should no longer wait for his written order because he has publicly declared his mandate for the clinical trial to be suspended.
Until the city government meets with WestVac, he expects PSH to comply with the mandate and suspend any related activities to the clinical trial be it screening of participants or inoculation of the trial vaccine.
He added that this is simply a suspension and not a termination of the clinical trials and it would be in the best interest of all stakeholders that any activity regarding the clinical trial should be suspended for now.
The city government reiterates that they are not against the clinical trial and are only seeking proper coordination.
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