Businessmen ask gov’t to consider Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment
MANILA, Philippines — A group of businessmen and other representatives of different associations have appealed to the government to consider Ivermectin as a drug to prevent and treat COVID-19 infection.
The group made this appeal specifically to President Rodrigo Duterte, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco in a letter dated March 31.
“We respectfully appeal to our Hon. President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to give serious, urgent and immediate attention to Ivermectin as an inexpensive drug to prevent and treat COVID-19 during this public health crisis,” they said.
Among the 17 signatories of the document were Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., President of the Employers Confederation; Ambassador Benedicto Yujuico, President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Jose Luis Yulo Jr., President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Islands; and Dr. Benigno Agbayani Jr., President of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens (CDC) of the Philippines.
The group also requested Duterte to direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health (DOH), and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to “proactively look into the credible testimonials” and studies of medical research on the efficacy and safety of Ivermectin in preventing and treating COVID-19 cases.
They likewise asked the President to order the said government agencies to “issue the appropriate permit or authority to persons… to manufacture, compound, import, distribute and sell Ivermectin.”
“Likewise, we respectfully ask Congress to pass the appropriate legislation or resolution to expedite the availability of and easy access to Ivermectin by the masses of our people,” they added.
This request comes as health authorities reiterate their advice against the use of Ivermectin for treating COVID-19. The FDA, for instance, earlier said that the drug is not registered for human treatment in the Philippines since the only approved Ivermectin drug in the country is for animal and veterinary use.
The FDA and the DOH earlier said that the benefits and safety of the product have not been established. This was later echoed by the country representative of the World Health Organization, who said that they are not advocating for the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment.
However, the proponents stressed the need to consider Ivermectin as treatment for COVID-19 in view of public health emergency.
“Our people are dying in big numbers on a daily basis and our hospitals can no longer accommodate those who are getting sick of the virus. The number of cases is growing bigger and bigger. Our people are desperate for a preventive and curative drug against COVID-19,” they said.
The group likewise noted that there are “well-founded reasons” to believe that Ivermectin, repurposed as a human-grade drug to treat COVID-19, will be effective based on testimonials and studies.
They cited the statement from the CDC Philippines that 22 percent of the world is already using Ivermectin to fight COVID-19.
Ivermectin, they said, is a low-cost treatment as it only costs around P35 and is generally administered daily for three days, which means a person only needs to spend a little over P100 for the entire treatment.
“With the immediate availability of Ivermectin in the country, the health of the Filipinos will be protected and promoted, and the economy of the country will be restored and enhanced,” the group added.
“Dear leaders of our country, we appeal to you, please act on our request,” they said.
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