MANILA — An infectious diseases expert on Thursday warned the public against using antibiotics to treat COVID-19, saying many drugstores are selling them without prescription.
"In fact, hindi prescription ng doctor, ano. Sarili nang bumibili sila. Marami pa ring botika ngayon ang nagbibigay ng antibiotic without doctor's prescription," Dr. Rontegene Solante told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
He said that the practice is illegal but despite the prohibition, many Filipinos are still buying antibiotics to treat COVID-19 amid advisories by health groups.
"I think it's not remote na may ganoon pa rin," Solante noted.
In the same interview, Imus, Cavite Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi admitted that his administration is distributing COVID-19 kits that include antibiotics.
Maliksi said that the medical packages they've been giving to infected constituents were organized under the supervision of doctors.
"Ina-ano po muna namin 'yung conditions ng pasyente at kina-classify po natin sila," he said.
Solante, however, said it is very clear that antibiotics are not effective against the coronavirus.
"Kapag COVID kit, dapat walang antibiotic 'yan dahil viral ang tinitira natin, ginagamot natin, hindi bacteria. If you give an antibiotic with a viral infection, that antibiotic might also cause eradication of the bystander organism sa katawan natin, ano," he emphasized.
"And maging epekto niyan, pwedeng maging resistant ka 'pag meron ka nang totoong bacterial infection."
Solante discouraged the public from self-medication against COVID-19, even for patients with mild infection.
Maliksi, meanwhile, said he will call on doctors who supervised the packaging of the city's COVID-19 kits over the inclusion of antibiotics.
According to the World Health Organization, antimicrobial resistance occurs when "bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death."
"As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat," it said.