MANILA - Quezon City doesn't recommend the use of ivermectin as possible treatment to COVID-19 due to lack of data demonstrating its benefits, Mayor Joy Belmonte said Monday.
"It's very clear that here in the local government we never prescribed ivermectin to our patients in our hospitals. We don't recommend its use. We don't tell the people to take drugs that are not approved or recommended by the Food and Drug Administration," she told ANC.
Belmonte's statement came after Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor and Sagip party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta distributed free capsules of the anti-parasitic drug to several residents in Barangay Matandang Balara last month.
The lawmakers had said the deworming drug could be distributed through licensed compounding laboratories or pharmacies with doctor's prescription.
The country's drug regulatory body has only given 5 hospitals compassionate special permit to use ivermectin as an investigational drug against the respiratory illness.
Belmonte expressed concern that using ivermectin could be misinterpreted by her constituents as replacement for vaccination.
"My greatest fear, for me, is really that people might believe that using ivermectin, which [Health] Secretary [Francisco] Duque has said in my presence during a press conference [that] no conclusive positive effect in addressing COVID-19, might now be misinterpreted by those who believe in these congressmen, the politicians they have elected into office, might believe the allegations this could be a replacement for vaccination. That is my fear," she said.
Last week, the FDA granted a certificate of product registration to a local company to register ivermectin for human anti-parasitic treatment.
The other registered ivermectin products 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.