MANILA (UPDATE) —Two lawmakers' decision to distribute ivermectin as treatment against COVID-19 does not have a "sound legal basis," the Department of Justice said Thursday.
The anti-parasitic drug is currently registered at the Food and Drug Administration for animal use. FDA earlier said ivermectin may be used under a compassionate special permit (CSP), or when licensed pharmacists compound it using doctors' prescription.
Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor and SAGIP Rep. Rodante Marcoleta on Thursday distributed the anti-parasitic drug to patients with prescriptions.
"Personally I'm not too sure whether these 2 exceptions cited by the FDA director general have a sound legal basis. That is something for further study. I’m not too sure about the soundness of the legal basis for the exemptions," Justice Secretary Menardo Gueverra told ANC's Headstart.
"I wouldn’t really blame Representatives Defensor and Marcoleta if they would proceed . . . They’re well-meaning in what they want to do. The legal consequences is something for us to see at a future time."
FDA Director General Eric Domingo said he saw no problem with the distribution of ivermectin as long as there were doctors who would monitor the patients.
"I believe they will be sourcing it from a licensed compounding pharmacy. As long as they have doctors there who will take a look at patients and prescribe their medicines, then that's not a problem. It's the responsibility now of the doctors," he said.
The administration of ivermectin to COVID-19 patients can only be done by the five hospitals granted CSP by the FDA, the Department of Health earlier said.