Duterte on ivermectin: Is not that medication for animals?

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The anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, which is said to be able to cure COVID-19. According to the DOH, it is registered in the country for veterinary use. ABS-CBN News / File

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte clarified what ivermectin is for on Monday, stating that it was a veterinary drug.

This after the director general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Eric Domingo said at least three companies are applying for human-quality product registration for ivermectin, which will be used to treat COVID-19 patients.

During Monday’s televised conversation with cabinet members about the government’s COVID-19 response, Duterte Domingo asked if ivermectin could really cure COVID-19.

Domingo replied that while there are some people who claim to have been cured after ivermectin, there is no definitive evidence that it can actually cure COVID-19.

“Isn’t that a veterinary medicine?” Asked Duterte.

(Isn’t that medicine for animals?)

Domingo clarified that the government has currently only allowed the use of remdesivir, favipiravir and tocilizumab to treat COVID-19.

Last week, despite prior warnings from international health organizations, the FDA granted a hospital a “compassionate permit” to use the anti-parasite drug Ivermectin to fight COVID-19.

Ivermectin is commonly used to treat parasites in animals, according to a previous FDA opinion.

The DOH also said that country-registered ivermectin products are for veterinary use and are only approved for the treatment of internal and external parasites, as well as the prevention of heartworm disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended last week not to use ivermectin in patients with COVID-19, with the exception of clinical trials, as there is no data to support the benefit.

The recommendation follows the warning from the European Medicines Agency about the drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also recommended not using it for COVID-19.

Merck, an ivermectin company, also said its analysis did not support the drug’s safety and effectiveness for COVID-19.

Several House lawmakers, including Anakalusugan Party List MP Mike Defensor, are advocating the use of ivermectin. Defensor previously said it would distribute human-grade ivermectin to the sick and elderly in Quezon City despite FDA warnings.


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