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No evidence Ivermectin helps with COVID-19, manufacturer stresses
This photo taken on April 6, 2021 shows a relative wearing personal protective equipment attending to a family member with COVID-19 at a makeshift ward in a hospital in Manila. More contagious variants of the coronavirus have been blamed for a record surge in infections in Metro Manila that has overwhelmed hospitals and sent the national capital region into lockdown.
AFP/Jam Sta. Rosa

No evidence Ivermectin helps with COVID-19, manufacturer stresses

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - April 12, 2021 - 3:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — Ivermectin's manufacturer in the country in no uncertain terms said on Monday that the drug has "very little to no effect" against COVID-19, as some people, including lawmakers, tout its use despite warnings.

The anti-parasitic drug has recently gained traction in the Philippines as a supposed treatment for the disease. But health agencies have repeatedly said it remains mostly for veterinary use, and human consumption could be highly toxic. 

READQuick questions—and answers—on anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin

Over ONE News' "Agenda," Dr. Beaver Tamesis said there may have been a "placebo effect" in patients who took the drug and have since recovered from COVID-19.

Rep. Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan party-list), one of the advoates of using Ivermectin against COVID-19, has admitted he does not know if the drug made him better when he had the coronavirus disease.

"We have reviewed all of the data..that people keep saying is evidence that it works," said the managing director of Merck Sharp & Dohme Philippines. "The levels of evidence do not come up to standards."

The Department of Health has said that individuals involved in distribution and promotion of its use could be violating the law. Even the World Health Organization has said that Ivermectin still has to undergo clinical trials to prove that it works against the COVID-19. 

Tamesis cited systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials, where the drug was put against an inactive sugar pill. It, however, showed no difference.

"In terms of parasites, fantastic, you would no longer have them," he said partly in Filipino. "But in terms of actually reducing symptoms of COVID-19 or stopping the virus, I'm sorry."

In February, Merck's main office in the United States sought to make clear that Ivermectin has no scientific basis for "potential therapeutic effect" as well as no meaningful evidence on clinical efficacy for COVID-19.

"We do not believe that the data available support the safety and efficacy of Ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information," the company said in a statement.

The DOH said those in violation could meet imprisonment of one year but not more than 10 years, or a fine ranging between P50,000 to P5 million. Over the weekend, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group said too that they are monitoring possible trade of the Ivermectin.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION IVERMECTIN MIKE DEFENSOR NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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