MANILA – While clinical trials are set to be conducted for the use of Ivermectin on Covid-19 patients in the country, a Palace official on Wednesday said anyone can take the controversial drug at one’s own risk.
In his online commentary show “Counterpoint”, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said it is best to wait for the results of the clinical trials to be conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before taking the anti-parasitic drug.
“Kung ano na lang ang sabihin ng FDA, pakinggan na muna natin. Sila naman ang mga nakakaalam. Sila yung may mga karanasan, may expertise na tinatawag (Let’s wait for what the FDA has to say. They have the knowledge. They have the experience and expertise). They’re the ones studying so let them be,” he said.
Citing FDA Director General Eric Domingo, Panelo said high doses of Ivermectin could cause brain damage or even death.
He acknowledged that the medical community is divided as to whether Ivermectin should be given to Covid-19 patients or not, but reminded the public that there is a lack of data and evidence on its efficacy against Covid-19.
“You take Ivermectin at your own risk. Sabi ko sa inyo, kung sa tingin niyo yan ang makakaligtas ng buhay niyo, aba ay di inumin niyo. After all, katawan niyo ‘yan (Like I said, if you think it’s going to save your life, take it. After all, it’s your body),” he said.
Panelo said taking Ivermectin is not considered a crime and will not lead to imprisonment.
“Wala namang krimen na nagsasabi na pag uminom kayo ng gusto niyo sa tingin niyo ikabubuhay niyo, di kayo makukulong (There’s no crime saying you go to jail if you drink something you feel will save your life),” he said.
He noted that there are several drugs, such as Remdisivir, which have received approval from the FDA to treat Covid-19.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the DOST, DOH, and FDA to hold local clinical trials for the use of Ivermectin.
Dr. Aileen Wang of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) was tasked to spearhead the trials.
Duterte also continues to monitor developments concerning Ivermectin, even directing the Presidential Management Staff to give him weekly updates on Ivermectin studies and FDA-related clearance.
The FDA recently granted a compassionate special permit (CSP) for Ivermectin use on Covid-19 patients to two hospitals amid pressure from some doctors and private groups advocating its use.
Prior to the grant of the CSP to two hospitals, Ivermectin products were used for certain animal species to treat internal and external parasites as well as prevention of heartworm disease. (PNA)