MANILA, Philippines — Another hospital has secured a compassionate special permit (CSP) for the use of ivermectin to treat patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Wednesday.
FDA director-general Eric Domingo said there are now six hospitals within and outside Metro Manila that have been allowed limited use of the anti-parasitic drug on COVID-19 patients.
“That means the doctors in the hospitals can prescribe it [ivermectin],” he said in an online forum.
Domingo declined to identify these hospitals with CSP since the FDA doesn’t want to “violate the privacy of the patients.”
“Of course, the hospitals can freely identify themselves. We’re not stopping them,” he added.
The FDA earlier said that a compassionate special permit only allows experimental or unregistered drugs for limited off-label use but this is not an agency’s endorsement of its safety and efficacy.
Only the hospital that has secured a permit for ivermectin’s compassionate use for humans will be allowed to import the drug through a licensed importer.
Doctors who will prescribe the drug to treat COVID-19 patients are required to report to the FDA on a monthly basis. They will also be held liable for possible side effects.
The FDA also reiterated that a compassionate use permit is different from a certificate of product registration for the drug, which allows manufacturers to commercially sell the anti-parasitic drug for human use.
Domingo likewise stressed that the drug is still an investigational product and is not yet approved as COVID-19 treatment in the country.
The clinical trial for ivermectin as possible COVID-19 treatment is expected to start in May or June.