MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) "will act accordingly" against "accountable persons" who distributed ivermectin without proper permits, an official said Monday, a week after 2 lawmakers spearheaded the dole out of the anti-parasitic drug for animals.
Only hospitals and doctors who sought compassionate special permits (CSP) are authorized to prescribe ivermectin to COVID-19 patients, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reiterated in an online press conference.
"We will act accordingly according to the existing laws in our country, according to the violations, according to the accountable persons," she said.
"Iu-uphold po namin kung ano sinasabi sa batas at gagawin po namin 'yan," she said.
(We will uphold what is written under the law and we will definitely do that.)
Last week, Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor and SAGIP Rep. Rodante Marcoleta distributed ivermectin in Quezon City, with some doctors asking recipients to fill up forms in exchange for the medicine that allegedly fights symptoms of COVID-19.
Food and Drug Administration 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, but the DOH chief said otherwise.
Taking the drug with prescriptions that lacked details as prescribed by law is another story, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, referring to informal prescriptions issued during the distribution of ivermectin in parts of Quezon City.
"Ang ating batas malinaw [The law is clear]. All prescriptions must contain the name of the presciber, office address, professional registration number…dapat sundin ito. Hindi pwedeng token prescription lang," Duque told ANC's Headstart.
"'Yung doctor na nandoon na nag-prescribe will be held accountable in accordance with our statutes. Ang importante d'yan may pananagutan ang doctor na nag prescribe," he said.
(The doctor who is prescribed the drug will be accountable in accordance with our statutes. What is important is that the doctor who prescribed it will be held liable.)
Defensor dismissed the Health Secretary's statement as "petty."
"I cannot fully comprehend while in the middle of this war where 16,000 people are already dead and hundreds of thousands are sick, your highest ranking general is looking at prescriptions instead of pro- actively supporting a winning strategy that may win to save the lives of our people and emancipate us from this economic debacle," said Defensor, who is not a doctor by profession.
"The issue is petty. You have four known doctors giving prescriptions to patients who collect ivermectin from a nearby table. The patients submitted their records before hand and are recorded," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the FDA to conduct clinical studies on the effectiveness of ivermectin on Filipino COVID-19 patients.