Doctors in 'ivermectin pantry' may face suspension, loss of license — PMA

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
Doctors in 'ivermectin pantry' may face suspension, loss of license � PMA
Rep. Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan party-list) and Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta (Sagip party-list)lead the distribution of anti-parasite drug ivermectin at the Matandang Balara’s barangay hall in Quezon City on April 29, 2021.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Medical Association on Tuesday said doctors prescribing ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment at a distribution program organized by two lawmakers could have their license suspended or revoked.

Medical groups have spoken out against the distribution of the antiparasitic drug to Quezon City residents despite repeated warnings by health officials. The event was organized by Rep. Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan party-list) and Rep. Rodante Marcoleta (SAGIP party-list).

Dr. Oscar Tinio, PMA's spokesperson, said they have identified the four doctors who took part in the distribution. He said PMA is still waiting for its ethics committee to investigate the incident.

"If they're found guilty, then their licenses can be suspended or they can be given warnings or there would really be a revocation of license," he told "Agenda" of ONE News, partly in Filipino.

The PMA, in a statement over the weekend, said doctors should only prescribe ivermectin at the five hospitals granted compassionate use permits by the Food and Drug Administration.

Tinio added that apart from facing sanctions from the group, they can also be held liable under Philippine laws. The Department of Justice said it was "on its face" a violation, but stopped short of commenting on whether arrests can be made.

"If they think they're above the law, they're not," he said. "So we will pursue whatever actions we think are necessary...if we need to punish our physicians or doctors, we will do that."

On Monday, the Department of Health vowed that they will "act accordingly" on the distribution of ivermectin.

Took ivermectin, but still got infected

Over ANC's "Matters of Fact," Dr. Maricar Limpin, vice president of the Philippine College of Physicians, said they have seen a number of Filipinos who took the drug but still got infected with COVID-19.

"In fact, not only getting infected [but] the COVID-19 that they got became really serious that they are coming to the hospital with severe COVID-19," she said.

Even the World Health Organization has said that ivermectin requires further clinical trials to prove that it works against preventing the disease. Its own local manufacturer in the country said the same too.

Limpin said apart from individuals who took the ivermectin and contracted the virus, a number also sought medical attention due to its side effects.

She described actions by doctors involved in its distribution as "not the appropriate action that is expected from us health professionals."

"We cannot allow the health of Filipinos to be jeopardized," Limpin added. "As we battle COVID-19, it cannot be that we just take any medicine that is not founded on science, in which this medicine may even lead to more disastrous effect."

President Rodrigo Duterte himself ordered clinical trials on ivermectin in relation to COVID-19. Officals have long said that it remains for veterinary use, as even the Department of Agriculture said it will study if the drug will work against the African Swine Fever.

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