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Third hospital receives special permit to use ivermectin

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Third hospital receives special permit to use ivermectin
Undated photo of Ivermictin capsules.
Interaksyon / FDA / Released

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration granted Wednesday yet another private hospital a compassionate special permit (CSP) to use anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

FDA Director General Eric Domingo revealed this during a congressional inquiry on Thursday.

This is the third hospital to get a CSP for ivermectin following two private hospitals which received the same authorization. Another hospital has a pending CSP application for ivermectin, Domingo said.

Domingo said he could not disclose what hospitals were granted the special permit supposedly to protect the privacy of patients.

A CSP allows doctors or hospitals to use unregistered medical products for limited off-label use. A specialized institution or speciality society will be the only ones to file a request for CSPs.

What’s the verdict on ivermectin?

Ivermectin is only registered for human use as a topical cream in the Philippines, but oral formulations of the drug can be obtained from hospitals with CSPs or from registered pharmacies compounding it upon the prescription of a doctor.

Any prescription of it for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19, however, is considered off-label use and is not endorsed by the Department of Health or the FDA.

The World Health Organization also does not recommend using ivermectin on COVID-19 patients except in a clinical trial.

It also said the effects of ivermectin on mortality, mechanical ventilation, hospital admission, duration of hospitalization and viral clearance “remain uncertain because of very low certainty of evidence addressing each of these outcomes.”

A review by several medical groups in the country of six trials of ivermectin showed that it did not significantly reduce the risk of death among patients with COVID-19 and did not significantly reduce time in the hospital.

Ivermectin is also not associated with a definite benefit in terms of other clinically important outcomes. There is also no significant difference in the rate of hospital discharge between patients who took the anti-parasitic drug and those who did not.

That said, dozens of clinical trials on the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 are still ongoing, which means the final verdict for ivermectin has yet to be handed down.

ERIC DOMINGO

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION

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