Palace on lawmaker's ivermectin distribution: Wait for regulator approval

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 06 2021 04:20 PM | Updated as of Apr 07 2021 04:17 AM

Video courtesy of PTV​


MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday urged the public to wait for regulator approval for Ivermectin, which is said to be useful for COVID-19 treatment and prevention, after a lawmaker said he planned to distribute the anti-parasitic drug. 

Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor on Monday said he would distribute Ivermectin to the sick and elderly in Quezon City, despite Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings on the unauthorized use of the drug used to treat worms in animals.

"Para sa COVID-19 eh wala pa po tayong datos na nagpapakita na talagang epektibo siya, bagama’t mayroon na pong nag-apply for compassionate use," Palace spokesman Harry Roque said, when asked about the lawmaker's plan.

"Ang aking pakiusap, hintayin na lang po natin kasi mabilisan naman po iyang desisyon ng FDA na iyan. Hindi naman po magtatagal iyan. At ito naman po ay para sa ating interes din dahil kinakailangang mapatunayang mabisa, epektibo at ligtas itong gamot na ito para sa COVID-19," he said in a press briefing. 

(We don't have data showing that it is effective for COVID-19, though there are applications for its compassionate use. My request is let's wait because the FDA's decision will be quick, it won't take long. It's for our interest because this drug needs to be proven effective and safe for COVID-19 treatment.)

The distribution of unauthorized drugs is prohibited, FDA Director General Eric Domingo told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo on Tuesday. 

Asked if Defensor could face liability for this, Roque, a lawyer, refused to "give a legal advice on something na I am not engaged professionally."

The World Health Organization (WHO), European Medicines Agency, and the US FDA have all warned against the use of Ivermectin against COVID-19.

Ivermectin manufacturer Merck said there was no scientific basis showing that the anti-parasite drug is effective against COVID-19.
Defensor, who contracted and recovered from COVID-19, said he coordinated with a compounding laboratory and that he would give away Ivermectin for free to those with prescription.
Ivermectin overdose could lead to brain damage and death, said infectious diseases expert Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana.