The Food and Drug Administration last week gave a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) to Lloyd Laboratories to produce and sell antiparasitic drug ivermectin. The agency said, however, said that the manufacturer only applied to produce it as an antinematode drug and not for the treatment of Covid19.
Even so, anybody with a prescription is allowed to purchase the drug. Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, who had been making the news for his involvement in supporting its use, called this development a “great victory for the advocates of ivermectin.”
This followed a statement released by the 41-member group Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against Covid19 (HPAAC) urging the public to avoid using the drug. “We remind the public that there is no way to know if the circulating ivermectin capsules are legitimate or effective,” they said.
They also called on fellow health professionals to stick to “scientific, evidence-based medicine.” Among the groups were the Philippine College of Physicians, PGH Physicians’ Association, Philippine Neurological Association and the Philippine Society of Public Health Physicians.
Even earlier last week, following news that ivermectin would undergo a clinical trial funded by the Department of Science and Technology, ex-health secretary and doctors’ advocacy group Doctors for Truth and Public Welfare leader Dr. Esperanza Cabral, said that proponents of a drug or treatment should be its funders.
According to science secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, the trial, which begins in June and would run for eight months, will be led by University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) pulmonologist Dr. Aileen Wang.
At P22 million, the ivermectin trial is notably more than twice as expensive as trials for adjuvant treatments such as melatonin and virgin coconut oil (P9.8 million each) and herbal plants like tawa-tawa and lagundi (P5 million each).
Dr. Minguita Padilla, co-convener of Doctors for Truth, pointed out that ivermectin has been used since last year in India and that the dramatic rise in infections in the country was proof enough of its ineffectiveness. India and Brazil, both of which use ivermectin, have among the highest death rates in the world.
Photo: ABS-CBN News