FDA to take action vs illegal trading, distribution of ivermectin â Palace
Undated photo of Ivermictin capsules.

FDA to take action vs illegal trading, distribution of ivermectin — Palace

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - April 21, 2021 - 6:11pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to take charge in identifying actions against illegal trading or distribution of ivermectin, the anti-parasitic drug that some sectors believe can treat COVID-19.

Ivermectin is approved as an oral and intravenous preparation to prevent heartworm disease and to treat internal and external parasites in some animals, according to the FDA website. For human use, ivermectin is registered as a prescription drug in topical formulation for the treatment of external parasites like head lice and some skin conditions, the regulator added. It is not yet included in the list of drugs for COVID-19 treatment.

"To ensure the safety and welfare of the public and at the same time avoid any unnecessary conflicts, the Food and Drug Administration has been directed to take the lead in determining the course of action against the illegal trading/dispensing of Ivermectin," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.  

"The Philippine National Police cannot arbitrarily determine on their own which drug/s should not be on the market. All operations to apprehend or seize goods must be done in coordination with the FDA," he added.

Roque said what is being ordered to stop is the sale or trade of ivermectin for veterinary use that has been repackaged as human grade, including those that have not been determined by competent authorities as safe for human use.

"Having said this, we advise the public to seek the advice of medical practitioners before taking medicines and/or supplements," the Palace spokesman said.

In a statement issued late last month, the FDA clarified that there is no ban on the purchase and use of ivermectin as long as such product is registered with the food and drug regulator.

Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte is closely monitoring the developments concerning ivermectin here and abroad.

"He (Duterte) has even directed the Presidential Management Staff to give him weekly updates on ivermectin studies and FDA-related clearance," Roque said. 

Last Monday, Science secretary Fortunato dela Pena announced that a clinical trial would be conducted to determine if ivermectin can be given to COVID-19 patients.

In a related development, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said special permits and FDA approval are not needed to try virgin coconut oil (VCO) to treat COVID-19 patients.

"Those who want to try VCO to treat mild COVID symptoms do not need a special permit to use VCO, and neither does VCO require FDA approval to be bought or sold - you can get it in any supermarket and grocery," Nograles said in a statement.

"The clinical trials conducted by the DOST (Department of Science and Technology) show that if you have mild COVID symptoms, there are no risks involved in taking VCO, but there are possible benefits," he added.

Nograles said it makes sense to try VCO and to give it to those who may benefit from it because of its "zero-risk, high reward" potential.

The Palace official has distributed VCO supplies in hospitals in Manila, Caloocan, Navotas City, Parañaque and Marikina.

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