Ivermectin prescriptions an ethics breach, says doctor
MANILA - Doctors prescribing oral formulation of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as treatment for COVID-19 could be held liable for violation of medical ethics, a public health expert said Monday.
"This is a violation of the code of ethics and unprofessional conduct because you're not supposed to issue prescription certainly for unregistered product by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)," Dr. Tony Leachon, a former adviser to the government's coronavirus task force, told ANC.
The de-worming drug, which has been touted by some physicians and lawmakers as potential cure for COVID-19, has not been approved by the country's regulatory agency as treatment for the respiratory illness.
"You have to conform the basic standards of the law and it might actually affect, of course, your position in the Professional Regulation Commission. This may actually warrant or justify reprimand or suspension or even revocation of the certificate of registration based on the Medical Act of 1959," he said.
Distribution of ivermectin to counter COVID-19 can't also be justified on good faith amid lack of data demonstrating its benefits, Leachon said.
"It can't be justified just based on in good faith because as lawmakers they know the law. They can't actually push any product that is unregistered with the FDA," he added.
Last week, Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor and Sagip party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta distributed free capsules of the anti-parasitic drug despite warnings from several health organizations and medical groups.
Defensor had said the ivermectin could be distributed through licensed compounding laboratories or pharmacies with doctor's prescription.
So far, only 5 hospitals have been granted by the Food and Drug Administration compassionate special permit to use ivermectin as an investigational drug against COVID-19.
On Sunday, the Philippine Medical Association warned doctors against prescribing or compounding ivermectin outside hospitals that have been granted CSP.
The PMA said it stood by the policy of the FDA, the Department of Health and the World Health Organization that current evidence on the use of ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment was "inconclusive."