MANILA - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday said there has been some "pressure" to approve ivermectin as a drug for COVID-19 patients a week after it issued a compassionate use permit for the medicine.
The compassionate use permit allows doctors and hospitals to use the veterinary drug in certain cases even if the FDA has yet to approve its registration.
"Siyempre may pressure sa kung saan-saan pero sa FDA naman po, ina-approve ang application based on merit at basta po naka kumpleto sila ng requirements," FDA Director General Eric Domingo told state television channel PTV.
(There is pressure from different camps but the FDA only approves a drug based on merit and as along as complete requirements have been submitted.)
Domingo did not mention which individuals, companies or government agencies have been pressuring the FDA to approve the drug.
So far, experts have yet to find "strong evidence" that ivermectin could cure COVID-19, Domingo said.
"It's still an investigational drug so hindi naman natin ito marerekomenda pa sa ngayon," he said.
(It's still an investigational drug so we still cannot recommend it now.)
The FDA did not violate any law when it granted a compassionate use permit for ivermectin, Domingo said.
"Since July last year, in-expand ng DOH ang maaaring bigyan ng compassionate use permit to drugs on COVID-19 that are still under investigation," he said.
(Since July last year, the DOH expanded the grant of compassionate use permits to drugs on COVID-19 that are still under investigation.)
Several House lawmakers, including Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, have been advocating the use of ivermectin, claiming it could alleviate symptoms of COVID-19 in some patients.
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte underscored that ivermectin is a veterinary drug.
The FDA earlier said it has received 2 applications for certificate of product registration for the drug.