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.”