"We just couldnít wait to see these people held accountable for exploiting this pandemic."
Despite the repeated warnings from the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration against the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients and doctors from prescribing the so-called miracle drug, Anakalusugan Rep. Michael “Idol Mike” Defensor and Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta greenlighted the launching of their Ivermectin Pan Three, aimed at providing access to the poor to avail of the ivermectin drug in the fight against the dreaded virus.
Partnering with Lifecore Bio-Integrative Inc., Concerned Doctors and Citizens-PH, Malayang Quezon City, Defensor and Marcoleta led the distribution of Ivermectin capsules at the Matandang Balara Barangay Hall park last Thursday with doctors prescribing ivermectin to the poor senior citizens of the said barangay.
The two lawmakers said they opted to launch their project in Matandang Balara as it has one of the highest cases of COVID-19, with many areas in the barangay belonging to the poorest of the poor who cannot afford the financial burden of hospitalization.
As of this writing, Quezon City has consistently been the Number 1 area with the most cases of COVID-19 having accumulated a total of 90,202 since last year, of which 5,982 are still active.
Originally, the two solons planned to distribute three capsules each, thus calling the event Pan-Three.
So, with the DoH and the FDA’s warning, which could mean the filing of cases against the two lawmakers and those who supported them, and the “defiance” of Defensor and Marcoleta, the question now is: Who blinks first?
Even before the event took place, there rumors charges would be brought upon the two for violating the directives on the prescription and dispensing of drugs.
However, Idol Mike stressed that both the DoH and the FDA had made it clear that dispensing ivermectin should come with a doctor’s prescription and that the drug should come from a licensed compounding laboratory and that the drug to be given should not be a veterinary-grade ivermectin (Again, is there a doctor who would be foolish enough to prescribe a vet-grade drug to his patient?). They have been compliant to this. They have doctors who will prescribe and they have the drug from a licensed compounding laboratory –Lifecore.
Defensor and Marcoleta had sought the assistance of doctors belonging to the CDC to check on the beneficiaries of the drug and to issue prescriptions in that regard.
However, as Idol Mike explains, the doctors failed to bring with them their prescription pads, they had to make do with scratch papers to prescribe the drugs and to claim them at the adjacent table.
Were the doctors avoiding responsibility over the dispensing of drugs? Absolutely not. Their names and contact information were written all over the event’s record books as the names of the doctor-volunteers were repeatedly introduced many times by Defensor and the other members of the organizers, so each patient knew his or her doctor’s name.
In fact, Idol Mike says one patient who developed symptoms minutes after taking ivermectin went back to his doctor for advice, adding that one doctor even gave his mobile phone number to reassure the patients.
Also, a doctor, Dr. Raffy Castillo, claims that accountability was ensured, and patients’ welfare was safeguarded in the said event as only doctors who were well known to the organizers were invited to handle the charity medical mission. All the doctors who volunteered are duly licensed in the practice of medicine in the country.
The doctors were also tasked to assess the individual’s suitability for ivermectin, so requests to give prescriptions to relatives who were not physically present were politely turned down.
The risk of exposure was also assessed to determine the most suitable dose frequency for ivermectin as Castillo said patient welfare was paramount in the minds of the medical volunteers.
Only three to five capsules were prescribed for most patients so they can come back for reevaluation of any possible adverse effects, and for any dose adjustments that may be required when the three to five capsules are consumed.
After issuing prescription and instructions for ivermectin were given, the drugs were dispensed at the adjacent table.
In summary, Defensor said that “the congressmen and staff organizers and medical volunteers, as well as other community healthcare workers involved in the event, made sure that all those who sought assistance were given the needed attention and advice they needed to determine their suitability for taking Ivermectin, ideal dosing frequency based on their risk of exposure and other advice that were deemed necessary in the prevention of COVID-19.”
So, will the DoH and the FDA push through with the filing of cases against Defensor and Marcoleta? I don’t think so. Actually, if there’s someone who should be preparing for some court litigations, it would be the heads of these two agencies, Francisco Duque and Eric Domingo.
Even before the two lawmakers proceeded with the distribution of ivermectin last Thursday, they have announced that lawyer Larry Gadon had accepted their request to handle the filing of the cases against the DoH and the FDA for the continued dispensing of a very expensive drug, Remdesivir to Covid-19 patients even if this goes against the recommendation of the World Health Organization.
Echoing Defensor’s declaration, Gadon says they “will help the victims of the wrong policies and guidelines of the DoH and the FDA on insisting the use of Remdesivir despite declaration of the World Health Organization that it is ineffective and must be discontinued,”
According to Gadon, COVID-19 patients are charged bloated amounts of expenses “for Remdesivir while the drug does not even help.”
“We will file cases against those who took advantage of the covid victims and this could involve DoH and the FDA officials and hospitals,” Gadon swears.
We just couldn’t wait to see these people held accountable for exploiting this pandemic.