MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) have started looking into the mass distribution of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin following reports of invalid prescriptions issued during the event, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
In an online briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH already forwarded to the PRC reports they gathered about the alleged invalid prescriptions issued by doctors involved in the drug distribution.
Last week, the DOH said that members of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens PH allegedly wrote prescriptions on a sheet of paper instead of a prescription pad during the distribution of ivermectin drugs led by Representatives Rodante Marcoleta and Mike Defensor in several communities in Quezon City.
“They already have acknowledged this. Ito po ay nagbigay tayo ng anecdotes at alleged na mga nireport sa atin about the invalid prescription,” Vergeire said.
“Of course, we’d like to know from them the practice of profession itong mga sumali dito na mga healthcare workers natin who are licensed by PRC,” she added.
Vergeire said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III gave the instruction for the FDA to conduct a parallel probe last Friday.
Defensor earlier defended the mass distribution of ivermectin despite repeated warnings from health authorities that the drug has not been approved to treat COVID-19 due to insufficient evidence.
The lawmaker also said that the DOH should not go after the doctors who joined the distribution.
Vergeire, however, said that the DOH will uphold the law in addressing the distribution of ivermectin.
“We will act accordingly. According to existing laws that we have in the country, according to identified violations, according to the accountable persons,” she said.
“We are on to that position and direction na i- uphold kung ano sinasabi sa batas. At gagawin po namin yan,” she added.
The DOH earlier said that a valid prescription should contain the date of prescription, the patient’s name, age, and sex. Pertinent details about the prescribing physician should also be included, such as name, office address, professional regulation number, and professional tax receipt number (if applicable).
It also called on those who received the prescriptions and the drugs to report any invalid prescriptions to the PRC, and any adverse reactions to the FDA at (02) 8809-5596 or email@example.com.
The DOH and FDA also urged the public to be “vigilant and sufficiently assess any prescriptions provided to them, as these prescriptions will protect them and ensure accountability from the issuing professional.”