"Why the continued refusal? Why the warning?"
As of Thursday, April 8, 2021, the country has recorded 14,119 deaths related to COVID-19. Filipinos are growing weary and frustrated on how the government, particularly the Department of Health has been responding, and are resorting to alternative medicines or off-label medications either for prevention or treatment against the dreaded coronavirus. And those include ivermectin, an originally anti-parasitic drug and Lianhua Qingwen, a traditional Chinese medicine used for treatment of flu.
Unfortunately, DoH Secretary Francisco Duque and the Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo, citing a handful of studies including the position of the World Health Organization, have refused to allow these drugs to be used against COVID-19 and have appeared to push for Remdesivir, a very expensive drug, which ironically, the WHO has refused to recommend for use in COVID-19 patients.
Making matters worse, both the DoH and the FDA have issued warnings against doctors prescribing ivermectin to their patients, threatening them of having their licenses revoked.
The funny thing is every time the DoH and the FDA are confronted regarding their warning, they are quick to clarify their warning is for those doctors prescribing veterinary-grade ivermectin to their patients. This makes me wonder: who are the really stupid ones -- the doctors or those at the helm of the DoH and FDA themselves?
Who in their right mind would prescribe veterinary-grade drugs to their patients? And yet, those fools over the two agencies still refuse to clarify their statement.
Last Thursday, they issued a compassionate permit for the drug for one hospital, but that is not enough.
A compassionate permit applies only to one patient who’s already tested positive, applying for such. But what about those who, relying on scientific studies conducted in that regard, believe the said drug could be used to prevent infection?
A presentation by Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, citing studies from FLCCC, show that of the 48 clinical trials, 25 of which are randomized controlled trials, involving 375 scientists, and 15,580 patients, 89 percent improvement in 12 prophylaxis trials; 79 percent improvement in 16 early treatment trials; 50 percent improvement in 20 late treatment trials; 76 percent improvement in 18 mortality results; and 65 percent improvement in 25 randomized controlled trials.
So why the continued refusal? Why the warning? A visibly frustrated Defensor exclaimed:” Eh kung sila ang kasuhan ko?”
Just recently, the Philippine National Police has joined the fray, and acting most probably on the recommendation of the DoH and the FDA, warning everyone against the sale and use of the “wonder drug,” prompting House Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera and 1-Pacman Rep. Eric Pineda to both condemn PNP’s threat.
Herrera stressed ivermectin is not an illegal drug, thus, no one can ban its use.
“It is our right to take care of ourselves as we fit it,” Herrera avers.
“How can ivermectin be illegal when compounding laboratories are actually allowed to produce and sell it?” she asks.
While Domingo, according to Herrera, has assured her that what they were prohibiting is the use of veterinary-grade ivermectin, which obviously the doctors would not dispense to their patients, the PNP directive would only result in confusion and apprehension among the people.
Pineda, for his part, stands firm on his position that the FDA cannot prohibit the sale and use of ivermectin, as the same drug has been approved as a parasitic drug as there is no law that makes the sale or use of ivermectin illegal, so there would be no ground to arrest anyone who will use this drug.
“In fact, it has been allowed to be used for several years already in the Philippines. The FDA is also allowing the compassionate use of ivermectin for Covid-19, which should only be prescribed by a medical doctor. However, due to the current popularity of the drug, and with the danger of humans taking the animal grade Ivermectin, which could have adverse effects — we must prevent scrupulous products from penetrating the market and getting into the hands of unsuspecting victims who are only desperate to prevent being infected with COVID-19,” Pineda explains.
Instead of banning or restricting the sale of ivermectin, FDA should ensure the availability of the human-grade version of the drug to COVID-19 infected patients, provided that the administration of the same is supervised by a doctor to ensure that the product they are taking comes from a legitimate source – from a compounder that has been approved by the FDA, and that failure to do so will result into the possibility of fake products flooding the market.
DoH and FDA have to act fast and resolve the issue. Cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines have reached record highs, the body bags are piling up and yet Duque and Domingo still refuse to budge on the clamor to allow wide-scale use of ivermectin. The more delay they cause, the more lives are put at stake. The blood of those who perished from this pandemic are oozing from their hands. And maybe Defensor should make good his statement – haul them to court for committing one of the worst crimes this century – a crime against humanity.
The doctors, after all, are allowed to do and prescribe what they believe are good for their patients and this is embodied in the 1964 Helsinki Declaration, a part of it reads:
“In the treatment of a patient, where proven prophylactic, diagnostic and therapeutic methods do not exist or have been ineffective, the physician, with informed consent from the patient, must be free to use unproven or new prophylactic, diagnostic and therapeutic measures, if in the physician’s judgement it offers hope of saving life, reestablishing health or alleviating suffering.”
Both Duque and Domingo are preventing the doctors from exercising these rights at the expense of the people’s lives.