Two lawmakers are set to give away three anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin pills for free at the Matandang Balara Hall Park, Quezon City starting April 29. Rep. Rodante Marcoleta and Mike Defensor called the initiative Ivermectin Pan-three which will supply the beneficiaries the pills as it is stated to be a possible treatment against COVID-19.
In a joint statement released on Tuesday, April 27, they stated that it is to help the people protect themselves against the “war” that is the pandemic.
“This grave public health emergency caused by the pandemic is technically a war that needs to be decisively confronted. In war, people protect themselves with anything in order to survive,” they stated.
“We need to cross the line and break the glass ceilings if we must, one way or the other. We cannot, in good conscience, sit idly at the excuse of inflexible bureaucracy to deny our people, especially the underprivileged, their pharmaceutically-assisted moments as they struggle to breathe their last.”
On the other hand, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director-general said that there must be doctors who would “check the patients and prescribe medicines that will be dispensed properly.”
Marcoleta and Defensor clarified that doctors from the group Concerned Doctors and Citizens PH (CDC-PH) will be with them during distribution.
The two will then continue their distribution in New Era, Commonwealth, and Holy Spirit.
A few weeks ago, the FDA said that the distribution of Ivermectin is still prohibited despite their approval of a hospital’s application for a compassionate use permit.
FDA Chief Eric Domingo stated that only the specific hospital will be allowed to import the drug through a licensed importer.
“Yung ospital ang bibili, meron siyang licensed importer na magi-import para sa kaniya nitong gamot na ito na rehistrado sa ibang bansa,” he said.
He added that the doctors who asked for the permit will need to list down the patients who will be taking the drug and report its effects to the FDA.
Health experts earlier stated that, despite articles circulating online. There is not enough evidence to prove that Ivermectin can be given to those who are infected with COVID-19.
The FDA, Department of Health (DOH), World Health Organization (WHO), and the drug’s manufacturer, Merck, agreed that there is still a lack of data regarding the benefits of the medicine when it comes to coronavirus prevention and treatment.
Merck said that there is “no meaningful evidence for clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 and a concerning lack of data in the majority of studies.”
Marcoleta and Defensor claimed that the FDA and DOH are “dismissive” about the drug’s potential.
“Time and again, they are dismissive of the avalanche of clinical trials that have unfolded before their very eyes, unyielding to bend and improvise the guidelines and policies that apply only during normal times,” they stated.
Earlier this month, President Rodrigo Duterte also commented on the debate regarding Ivermectin asking if it is a medicine for animals.
“Hindi ba yan gamot sa hayop?” he inquired.
However, he then ordered the clinical trial of the medicine in the Philippines that is expected to start by the end of May.