MANILA (UPDATE) - Authorities seized 20,000 tablets of undeclared ivermectin and other drugs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Bureau of Customs said Thursday.
The drugs were reportedly concealed in the inner portion of a shipment from New Delhi, India and covered by other declared regulated items. The shipment was declared as food supplements, multivitamins and multi-mineral capsules, the bureau said.
Ivermectin is under compassionate use in specialized institutions authorized by Food and Drug Administration, said Jesusa Joyce N. Cirunay, director of the Center for Drug Regulation and Research.
The FDA has so far allowed only 5 hospitals to use ivermectin as an investigational drug to treat COVID-19.
"In case Ivermectin has been granted authorization, a valid License to Operate (LTO) as Drug Importer and Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) shall be presented," she said.
Two lawmakers had earlier distributed ivermectin to patients with supposed prescriptions from doctors. The FDA said the distribution was not illegal "as long as you do it properly."
Several doctors groups, however, warned their colleagues against prescribing a drug unregistered for human use without a compassionate permit.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is set to conduct a clinical trial on the use of ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment and aims to finish the study by the first quarter of next year.