MANILA - Giving away unregistered drug Ivermectin to the public is "illegal" and COVID-19 patients who receive it must be monitored, an infectious disease expert said Wednesday.
Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor earlier said he has coordinated with a compounding laboratory that would make the anti-parasitic drug and distribute it to those with prescription.
The drug is currently registered for use against worm infestations and parasites in animals.
The drug can be given as an off-label indication but doctors must monitor the patients, said Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of San Lazaro Hospital's Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine.
"Obviously it’s illegal because it’s not approved by the FDA for use of this particular indication... If you are using off-labeled indication then that’s now the liability of the physician if any untoward incident will happen to the patient then that’s his liability," he told ANC's Headstart.
"We need to look at how this drug will affect the kidneys, the liver and the other side effects. They’re giving that for free. I hope they will also be monitoring the individuals closely for adverse reaction."
Ivermectin has yet to prove beneficial for COVID-19 patients, Solante said.
"It did not reduce mortality, it did not improve clinical manifestations, (these are) more or less these are the 2 important parameters we're still looking at," he said.
"If you really want to give Ivermectin...let’s start a trial on this and let’s see what the trial tells us."
COVID-19 patients who are on home quarantine are discouraged to self-medicate and must instead "rest, isolate themselves, eat the right food, (have) fluid hydration" and take cough medication if necessary, according to Solante.
"We discourage them getting an antibiotic because there are already studies abroad that if you have mild COVID, what is the risk you have a bacterial infection and it’s really very low," he added.
"Baka next year ang problema natin drug resistance na naman."
(Next year we might face the problem of drug resistance.)