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Customs seizes 20,000 ivermectin tablets, other drugs at NAIA
This photo shows the ivermectin tablets and other undeclared registered drugs that the Bureau of Customs seized at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay
Facebook/Bureau of Customs

Customs seizes 20,000 ivermectin tablets, other drugs at NAIA

(Philstar.com) - May 6, 2021 - 2:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs on Thursday said it recovered 20,000 tablets of unregistered ivermectin and other undeclared regulated drugs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

In a statement, the agency said the tablets were from a shipment imported from New Delhi in India by Finstad Inc., which were declared as "food supplements, multivitamins and multi-mineral capsules."

Some lawmakers and business groups have been pushing the use of the antiparasitic drug as a treatment for COVID-19 despite a lack of substantial evidence that it helps against the coronavirus disease.

Health officials and medical groups have long warned against its consumption, saying it could be highly toxic for humans.

Per a Customs examiner, the tablets were concealed in the inner part of the shipment and were covered by other declared regulated items.

Director Jesusa Cirunay of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Regulation and Research reminded the public that ivermectin is only allowed through hospitals granted a compassionate use permit. 

FDA chief Eric Domingo said local regulators have cleared six hospitals in Metro Manila and in the provinces to use the drug in treating its COVID-19 patients.

The BOC said it remains on guard and will further tighten security to foil attempts to sneak unregistered goods into the country.

This is not the first time that unregistered drugs were smuggled into the Philippines. A batch of Sinopharm vaccines made its way to the Philippines and was illegally administered to the Presidential Security Group.

Both the FDA and the BOC vowed to probe the incident, but no one has been held accountable so far. Medical experts warned that failure to sanction individuals over it could set a bad precedent for the country in the long run. 

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION IVERMECTIN NINOY AQUINO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
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