MANILA - A third hospital has been given compassionate special permit to use the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as potential treatment for COVID-19, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.
During a panel hearing at the House of Representatives, FDA director-general Eric Domingo bared that an undisclosed hospital had been allowed access to ivermectin to treat patients battling the novel coronavirus.
"Sa ngayon po, mayroon pa pong na-approve na isang hospital kahapon," he told lawmakers at the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.
(For now, another hospital was approved yesterday [for CSP].)
Another application for limited permit for ivermectin is also pending, he added.
The drug regulatory body first granted CSP for ivermectin to a hospital on April 8. Last week, Domingo said another private hospital was authorized to use ivermectin as investigational drug to counter the respiratory disease.
In an advisory it issued last month, the FDA said the registered ivermectin products in the country for human use were in topical formulations under prescription use only. This is used for the treatment of external parasites, such as head lice, and skin conditions, such as rosacea.
The registered oral and intravenous preparations of ivermectin are veterinary products, which are approved for use in animals for the prevention of heartworm disease and treatment of internal and external parasites in certain animal species, the FDA had said.
During the hearing, Domingo said a certificate of product registration could come sooner for ivermectin than emergency use authorization.
"Palagay ko po, mas mauuna pa 'yong certificate of product registration kasi mayroong ngang nag-apply last weekend. Actually, that will be easier kasi kapag CPR puwede talaga siyang ibenta, i-market commercially," he said.
(I think the CPR may come first because someon applied for it last weekend. Actually, that will be easier because if CPR it could be sold commercially.)
The House panel on Thursday conducted an investigation into the policies set by the FDA in approving COVID-19 products for emergency use, which they said "appear to be detrimental to public interest."
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera-Dy have questioned FDA Circular No. 2020-12 and other related guidelines for "being arbitrary, bureaucratic and inhumane for causing unnecessary delays."
"While there is no actual cure for COVID-19, health, drug, and medical experts have come up with a treatment protocol including the administration of certain drugs and therapeutics currently allowed for use and treatment of COVID-19," the resolution read. - With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News