Two more hospitals receive special permit to use ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment

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Two more hospitals receive special permit to use ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment
Packaging of Merck's Ivermectin
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MANILA, Philippines — The country’s Food and Drug Administration granted two more hospitals compassionate special permits to use the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, its chief said Tuesday.

To date, five hospitals have received the permit to use unregistered medical products for limited off-label use, FDA Director General Eric Domingo confirmed in a text message to Philstar.com.

The use of ivermectin is limited to the hospital to which the CSP is granted, which means the drug cannot be sold commercially.

“The concept [of CSP] is you have a patient who is suffering and you don’t have anything else to give the patient, and there is a drug that is available somewhere else and you ask for permission to use this investigational drug on this patient,” Domingo said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel Tuesday.

“On those grounds, we grant it because we do accept that it is an investigation drug for COVID-19,” he added.

The FDA chief also said the hospitals that requested CSPs for ivermectin use gave the drug to mild and moderate COVID-19 cases.

In the Philippines, the only registered oral and intravenous preparations of ivermectin are veterinary products, and are only approved for use to prevent heartworm disease and treat parasites. What is currently available for human use is in topical formulation, which is used to treat head lice.

The cheap anti-parasitic drug is being touted as a possible treatment for or prophylactic against COVID-19 despite thin scientific evidence on its efficacy to treat or prevent COVID-19. The World Health Organization does not recommend ivermectin on COVID-19 patients except in the context of clinical trial.

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the DOH and the Department of Science and Technology to conduct a clinical trial on the use of ivermectin. Outside the country, dozens of clinical trials on its use for the treatment of COVID-19 are still ongoing.

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