CIDG says monitoring Ivermectin trade on Duterte's orders
Undated photo of Ivermictin capsules.

CIDG says monitoring Ivermectin trade on Duterte's orders

(Philstar.com) - April 11, 2021 - 10:50am

MANILA, Philippines — The national police said it has joined the fight against Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug used on animals that some lawmakers say despite a lack of sufficient evidence can also be used to treat the coronavirus. 

This comes amid growing conversations over the use of the drug for COVID-19 patients despite warnings from the World Health Organization, the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. 

Speaking in an interview aired over DZBB Super Radyo, Police Maj. Gen. Albert Ferro, director of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said that the directive to monitor the sale of Ivermectin came from President Rodrigo Duterte himself. 

"We're just following the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration since it is still up for debate if Ivermectin can be used for people," Ferro said in mixed Filipino and English. 

"Ivermectin is registered but, basically, its use is for animals. It is used for de-worming... Our focus right now is on unlicensed and unregistered Ivermectin," he also said. 

READ: Quick questions—and answers—on anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin

Section 11 of the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009 prohibits "manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertising, or sponsorship of any health product that is adulterated, unregistered or misbranded."

FROM INTERKAKSYON: Can Ivermectin lessen risk of COVID-19? Health orgs debunk claims

Scientific evidence for its efficacy remains thin, with medical authorities across the globe advising against the use of drug to treat COVID-19, a respiratory disease. Even the police general acknowledged that no studies outlining the use of Ivermectin for humans have yet been completed. 

As it currently stands, the country's FDA has said that the drug is an "investigational product" with clinical trials for human use still ongoing.

No arrests, confiscations yet

In a statement on Thursday, House Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon party-list), among those pushing for the use of Ivermectin against COVID-19 despite health experts' warnings, slammed the CIDG for its operations, saying the drug is not illegal. 

"You cannot ban its use. It is our right to take care of ourselves as we fit it," Herrera, who is not a medical doctor, said then.

In response to calls supporting the use of the drug, Ferro reminded the public: "It is only through compassionate special use if these can be administered," adding that these will have to be given by doctors.

He urged patients to seek professional advice and opinions before attempting to acquire and self-medicate with the consumption of Ivermectin. 

Ferro added that operations against Ivermectin have not yielded any results yet, saying police were mostly confiscating fake testing kits and the like. 

He compared it to peddlers of crystal meth or shabu, saying: "It's hard to do buy-bust operations for people taking it inside their homes. There are a lot of complications there." 

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." 

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

Franco Luna 

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