It is really surprising, or even disgusting, why some of our health officials, whose sworn duty is to protect the lives and wellbeing of our people, are now the ones hindering the use of ivermectin as an alternative medicine to treat our ever-increasing COVID-19 patients.
On March 30, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo told the House committee on health that only topical creams containing ivermectin used for treating head lice and rosacea are commercially available here, indirectly saying that it is not fit for treatment of the deadly coronavirus.
At the same hearing, World Health Organization representative to the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe also said available data “is not strong enough” to advocate the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment and prevention.
But a number of physicians swear by the efficacy of ivermectin as treatment and as prophylactic or preventive medicine for COVID-19 and urge the government to make it available to COVID-19 patients unable to gain entry to overcrowded hospitals.
Dr. Rafael Castillo, a specialist in cardiology and internal medicine, said that he recommends ivermectin to patients as preventive medicine and prescribes it in varying doses to COVID-19 patients depending on the severity of the case.
Castillo, who writes a weekly health column for the Inquirer, said that when you are under attack by ruthless killers “you will use anything that can help you ward off the killers and give you a fighting chance to survive.”
According to Castillo, what medical practitioners like him should ensure is that the alternative medicines have no potential for significant harm. He said that around 3.5 million doses of ivermectin have already been given worldwide and of the more than 40 studies published on it, none showed “a signal for significant harm.”
Castillo said there is a strong suggestion of the benefit from ivermectin to the tune of 70 to 83 percent reduction in deaths almost identical to around 90 percent efficacy rate of some anti-COVID vaccines.
Dr. Benigno Agbayani, president of Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines, said ivermectin fills a “void” resulting from the slow nationwide COVID-19 vaccine rollout. He said the country is facing an emergency situation that should give consideration to ivermectin use.
Thus, we strongly urge the FDA to issue a “compassionate” use authorization to ivermectin to save lives amid the uncertainty of a massive vaccine rollout.