House to quiz FDA on barring use of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin vs COVID-19
Frontliners get inoculated with Aztrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine during the continuation of vaccination for health workers and frontliners at Marikina Sports Complex on March 24, 2021.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

House to quiz FDA on barring use of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin vs COVID-19

(Philstar.com) - March 29, 2021 - 6:37pm

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives is slated to probe the use of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin—a drug used in veterinary medicine—as a possible treatment for the coronavirus. 

To recall, the country's Food and Drug Administration, an attached bureau of the Department of Health, has barred the use of the parasite medication for the prevention and treatment of the coronavirus.

In a statement, Rep. Helen Tan (Quezon 4th District), who chairs the House health panel, disclosed that she scheduled a hearing on Tuesday to investigate the decision of FDA to prevent the use of Ivermectin despite its potential and promise as a drug treatment for virus in other countries.

“We want to know what causes the skyrocketing spike in cases, we want to know the status of the government’s contact tracing efforts, and we want to know what treatments are available out there so we can save as many patients as possible from this deadly disease,” Tan, a medical doctor, said.

READ: Using anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 dangerous — DOH, FDA

On Thursday, Rep. Enrico Pineda (1-PACMAN Party-list) filed a House resolution demanding the FDA explain its decision on Ivermectin.

Pineda claimed Ivermectin "was found to reduce the effects of COVID-19 on infected patients when used with vitamins and supplements."

“While we understand the prudence being exercised by the FDA, this is quite an unprecedented international health emergency,” he said.

Pineda tested positive for COVID-19 in September 2020 but is not a medical doctor. 

Can it actually cure COVID-19?

Experts have acknowledged that claims of success taking the animal drug are anecdotal at best, however.  

Regardless of supposed gains, the FDA has said that using animal drugs like Ivermectin in humans can cause serious harm as these are “often highly concentrated and can be highly toxic to humans.”

In its advisory, the FDA also said that the drug, used for the treatment of external parasites such as head lice, "should only be administered according to its approved indication, or as prescribed by a duly-licensed veterinarian." 

“Any use of Ivermectin veterinary products for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 should be avoided as the benefits and safety for this purpose has not been established,” it said, adding that clinical trials are needed to determine whether the drug is safe and effective in treat or preventing COVID-19.

FROM INTERAKSYON: Findings on Ivermectin’s COVID-19 treatment effectivity still pending, medical workers stress in call for ‘sobriety’

Experts warned last year that the FDA's failure to hold anyone accountable for the use of unauthorized and smuggled Sinopharm vaccines by the Presidential Security Group would set a dangerous precedent and would cast doubt on the credibility of the regulatory agency. — Franco Luna 

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