DOH, FDA reiterate: Ivermectin not yet approved as COVID-19 treatment

Robie de Guzman   •   April 30, 2021   •   202

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday reiterated their stand that they are not recommending the use of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 due to insufficient scientific evidence.

In a joint statement, the DOH and FDA emphasized that they have always been consistent in their guidance and statement to the public that ivermectin is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19.

“We have said this many times before and we will say it again. We do not recommend the use of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 as the benefits of this anti-parasitic drug for this purpose have not been established,” the two agencies said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) to conduct a clinical trial on the efficacy of ivermectin against COVID-19.

“Let’s wait for the results,” FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said.

The DOST earlier said that the clinical trial for ivermectin as possible COVID-19 treatment will start in May or June.

The two agencies, however, said that investigational drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 may be used provided that all regulatory processes in place are strictly followed.

“Specifically, off-label use can be allowed under a compassionate special permit (CSP) or when it is compounded by a duly licensed pharmacy and properly dispensed by a pharmacist to a patient with a valid prescription,” the two agencies said.

The DOH and FDA also reiterated that it is not against the use of investigational drugs, but emphasized that in using products with unproven efficacies, the safety of every Filipino should take utmost precedence.

“While we recognize recent calls for its use, the positive effects of ivermectin have yet to be proven,” the agencies said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also expressed concern over the danger of self-administering ivermectin and called on the public to “refrain from self-medicating and indiscriminately using this potentially harmful product.”

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Umano’y nasayang na supply ng COVID-19 vaccine sa Cotabato, iniimbestigahan na — DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Iniimbestigahan na ng Department of Health (DOH) ang napaulat na pagkasayang umano ng supply ng COVID-19 vaccine na ipinadala sa bayan ng Makilala sa Cotabato.

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, nasa 348 doses ng Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines ang umano’y nasayang matapos mapabayaan sa loob ng freezer nang magkaroon ng power outage sa lugar.

Paalala naman ng kagawaran sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na bantayang maigi ang kanilang COVID-19 vaccine supply upang matiyak ang wastong temperature sa pag-iimbak nito.

“Hindi lang po isang beses isang araw ang ginagawang pagmo-monitor ng temperatura ng bakuna. Ito po ay ginagawa kada apat na oras,” ani Vergeire.

Nakipag-ugnayan na aniya sila sa lokal na pamahalaan kaugnay ng insidente.

“As to the sanctions, they were already advised and the local government has been coordinated with by our regional Office,” ang wika ni Vergeire. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

DOH working closely with BFP, other agencies to monitor hospitals after PGH fire

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it is closely coordinating with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and other concerned government agencies to prevent further fire incidents in hospitals amid the dry season and the coronavirus pandemic.

In a press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have reached out to the BFP, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and local government units (LGU) to place hospitals under close monitoring.

“Tayo po ay nakipag-coordinate sa iba’t ibang ahensya concerned katulad po ng DILG and local governments and also to coordinated with the Bureau of Fire Protection para magkaroon po ng monitoring across al[l our hospitals because we know that fire incidents are highest during the summer season,” she said.

Vergeire issued the statement after a fire hit part of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) on Sunday.

The fire has directly affected a portion of one floor of PGH.

Vergeire said at least 12 patients were referred for transfer to other DOH hospitals. As of Monday, eight patients had already been transferred while the remaining four were being processed.

The DOH has also distributed K95 and N95 masks to the PGH since all of its personnel were required to wear this for 48 hours as smoke from the fire could still linger in the area.

“We were able to provide K95 and N95 masks to the PGH para kanilang magamit sa kanilang personnel because they were required to wear N95 masks for 48 hours kahit wala po sila doon as COVID areas because of the lingering o naka-suspend pa siyempre yung mga smoke diyan galing sa pagkakasunog,” she said.

“Ngayon po ating pinagtitibay (monitoring) para ma-prevent na po natin yung mga further incidents like this in the future,” Vergeire said.

IATF upgrades mayors, governors in COVID-19 vaccination priority list

Robie de Guzman   •   May 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has included mayors and governors in the top priority group for the government’s COVID-19 vaccination.

Under Resolution No. 115-B approved on Monday, the IATF said all governors and mayors or all local chief executives will now be among the priority group A1.5 for vaccination, “regardless of the risk classification of their respective local government units (LGU).

The country has around 1,634 provincial governors and city and municipal mayors.  They were previously under the fourth sector (A4 category) composed of essential workers.

The first sector includes healthcare workers, the second priority group is composed of senior citizens while the third sector includes persons with co-morbidities.

The Philippines has so far administered over two million vaccine doses since the government rolled out its immunization program on March 1.

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