India has assured the Philippines of continued supply of medicines, including hydroxychloroquine, which is being tested as a potential treatment for COVID-19, Malacañang said Wednesday.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the commitment during his telephone conversation with President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, which also covered other aspects of the bilateral relationship, including defense cooperation.
“Prime Minister Modi assured the supply of affordable medicines and COVID-19 pharmaceutical products to the Philippines, including hydroxychloroquine,” the Palace said through the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs.
The Indian Embassy in the Philippines earlier said Duterte appreciated the steps taken by India to maintain supply of “essential pharmaceutical products to the Philippines.”
Duterte said the decision showed India’s “commitment to cooperation and good neighborliness.”
Modi’s statement comes after the Philippines resumed its trial of hydroxychloroquine for potential use against COVID-19 after the World Health Organization (WHO) reviewed the studies on the anti-malaria drug. The WHO briefly suspended the international trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
Modi also expressed India’s readiness to “extend all possible cooperation to the Philippines and that the Philippines will definitely benefit from the vaccine that India is developing,” the Palace said.
The premier lauded the Philippine government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, it added.
Duterte, on the other hand, praised India’s efforts to manage the COVID-19 situation, noting the South Asian nation’s 2.82% fatality rate was among the lowest in the world.
The President also called for stronger cooperation between India and the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) with regard to strengthening public health systems, food security and support for the ASEAN Response Fund for COVID-19.
“They also underscored the importance of sharing valuable lessons and best practices on addressing COVID-19,” the Palace said. -NB, GMA News