Dr. Allan Landrito, an advocate for the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin—whose potential Covid19-fighting properties are being debated—distributed pills he formulated on his own to some 8,000 patients without the necessary permit.
Landrito confirmed this before a House health panel headed by chairperson Quezon City Rep. Angelina Tan, last March 30.
Asked where he had acquired Ivermectin, the doctor said that he was able to get his supply from an importer and subsequently compounded it with an “inert ingredient,” which included corn-derived sugar, dextrose. He, however, did not have a permit to compound the medicines.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic,” he said. “I cannot have the scope of time to apply [for] any of those permits. My patients are begging me to treat them. I am just giving prophylaxis to patients, early treatment.”
“If they want to put be behind bars for this, it doesn’t matter,” he added.
Landrito has discontinued dispensing Ivermectin when the Food and Drug Administration discouraged against illegal distribution early last month.
The agency had not yet given the green light for the use of Ivermectin in the country, but Domingo announced in a televised briefing that hospitals and physicians may apply for compassionate use of the drug with the caveat that they shoulder responsibility for it.
Deputy speaker for trade and industry Wes Gatchalian cautioned online shopping sites like Lazada and Shopee against claims that Ivermectin could treat Covid19.
Despite the drug being clearly marked as a veterinary drug, Gatchalian warmed against “unscrupulous individuals who will use the leniency of these online sites that make the drug easily accessible, to prey on the public especially now when word has spread that Ivermectin may be used as a cure for Covid19.”
He noted an increase in volume of sellers of the drug which prompted him to warn: “People should never take animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and effectiveness in the particular species for which they are labeled.”
The World Health Organization has also said that there was no strong evidence to support the view that Ivermectin could treat or protect against the virus, even as some doctors have already prescribed its use.