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Appeal on Ivermectin

(The Philippine Star) - April 11, 2021 - 12:00am

We respectfully appeal to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to give serious, urgent and immediate attention to Ivermectin as an inexpensive drug to prevent and treat COVID-19 during this public health crisis.

Concretely, we respectfully request the President to direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to:

1) Pro-actively look into the credible testimonials of a substantial number of Filipinos, including well-known members of Philippine society, and the studies of several local and foreign medical researchers on the efficacy and safety of Ivermectin in preventing and treating COVID-19 cases; and

2) Issue the appropriate permit or authority to persons, natural or artificial, to manufacture, compound, import, distribute and sell Ivermectin.

Likewise, we respectfully ask Congress to pass the appropriate legislation or resolution to expedite the availability of and easy access to Ivermectin by the masses of our people.

We are in a severe public health emergency. Our people are dying in big numbers on a daily basis and our hospitals can no longer accommodate those who are getting sick of the virus. The number of cases is growing bigger and bigger. Our people are desperate for a preventive and curative drug against COVID-19.

There are well-founded reasons to believe that Ivermectin, repurposed as a human-grade drug to prevent and treat COVID-19 cases, will do much good based on widespread testimonials and studies made on Ivermectin.

22 percent of the world is already using Ivermectin to successfully fight COVID-19, according to the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Philippines), an advocate for the use of Ivermectin as a preventive and curative drug against COVID-19.

“Multiple studies and meta-analyses confirm the effectiveness of Ivermectin, a safe oral drug used for over 40 years for other illnesses in humans,” CDC Philippines said in a statement.

In India, South Africa and many Latin American countries, Ivermectin is widely used as a COVID-19 drug.

Remdesivir, the current drug being used to treat COVID-19- infected patients, costs around P28,000 per vial and must be administered twice daily until the patient is discharged. This drug is beyond the means of the average Filipino, most especially the poor.

Ivermectin, on the other hand, costs only around P35, has been sold over-the-counter for 40 years, and is generally administered daily for three days, which means a person only needs to spend a little over P100 for the entire treatment. The preventive dose is only once every two weeks.

We make this appeal anchored on the following constitutional policies declared in the 1987 Constitution:

1) Protection and promotion of the right to health of the people (Sec.15, Article II);

2) Respect for the role of independent people’s organizations to enable the people to pursue and protect their legitimate and collective interests and aspirations (Sec.15, Article XIII); and

3) The right of the people and their organizations to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social, political and economic decision-making.

With the sufficient vaccine supply against COVID-19 still forthcoming, the present health crisis calls for urgent and decisive action by government to provide a low-cost preventive and curative drug easily accessible to our people.

We strongly believe that many more Filipinos, especially the poor, can be saved from COVID-19 infection and death if Ivermectin is made immediately available to our people as prescribed by medical doctors without further delay and threats of administrative and criminal sanctions.

While FDA has declared that it can issue compassionate special permit for the use of human-grade repurposed Ivermectin, the procedures are cumbersome and not conducive to a wider use of the drug, not to mention the fee that has to be paid by patient or institution which is more than the cost of the drug itself.

With the immediate availability of Ivermectin in the country, the health of the Filipinos will be protected and promoted, and the economy of the country will be restored and enhanced.

• Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr., president, Employers Confederation of the Philippines

• Jose Luis U. Yulo Jr., president, Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines

• Rico V. Domingo, president, Philippine Bar Association

• Ferdinand A. Nague, president, Maritime Law Association of the Philippines Inc.

• Joey Lina, former senator and president, Sagot Kita Bayan

• Benedicto V. Yujuico, president, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry

• Jesus Lim Arranza, chairman, Federation of Philippine Industries Inc.

• Alberto D. Lina, president, Federation of Philippine Industries Inc.

• Fernando L. Martinez, president, PCCI Pasig City

• Cory Quirino, chairman, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption

• Nelson Celis, president, Philippine Computer Society

• Benigno A. Agbayani Jr. president, Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines

• Greg Atienza, executive director, SOULPh

• Ofelia Odilao-Bisnar, trustee, Food for Hungry Minds Inc.

• Leonardo Q. Montemayor Jr., board chairman, Federation of Free Farmers

• Antonio Sarmiento Jr., president, Philippine Federation of Pest Management Operators Associations Inc.

• Luis Marcos Laurel, president, Class 1986 Ateneo Law School

• Antonio M. Claparols, president, Ecological Society of the Philippines

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