MANILA— The Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate the distribution of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin by two lawmakers supposedly to counter COVID-19, its chief said Thursday, but clarified that looking into their possible liability is not within the agency's mandate.
The FDA is looking into the manufacturer, the distributor and the pharmacy that dispensed the anti-parasitic drugs and not the lawmakers behind the distribution, said director general Eric Domingo.
"Ang focus talaga namin is (Our focus is really) the product, if it was dispensed properly, if the prescription was valid, if it was truly compounded and not pre-manufactured in bulk, if they are up to standard," he told ANC's Headstart.
"The lawmakers, unless they were the ones prescribing or making the medicine, di naman namin (it's not within our) purview 'yun."
Domingo said the lawmakers' free clinic was not illegal "as long as you do it properly."
"If a doctor prescribes something as off-label, we do not encourage it but it’s also not illegal to prescribe something off-label as long as you explain it to the patient," he said.
"Ang weird 'yung merong papel na may waiver. Meron akong nakita
may waiver na walang responsibilidad ang— parang ganun ang sinasabi that the patient waives any responsibility. Wala pa naman akong nakitang clinic na ganun."
(What's weird is the waiver. I saw a waiver that states the patient waives any responsibility. I've never seen a clinic like that.)
The FDA "allows what is allowable," Domingo said following criticism that the agency had acceded to the lawmakers.
"The pressure is there from 2 very extreme sides. The only logical thing for us to do is follow the law," he said. "We try to be very impartial about it and just do our jobs."