Speaker urges FDA to take proactive view on repurposed drugs vs COVID
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be more proactive and study the safety and efficacy of ivermectin for COVID-19 prevention and treatment, according to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
In a statement, Velasco said Filipinos had become “desperate for a cure” and that the government should inform the public of all options for preventing and treating the disease now ravaging the National Capital Region and adjacent provinces.
“With cases surging and more people dying, regulators should find it necessary to look into the safety and efficacy of ivermectin and other repurposed drugs for COVID-19,” he said, adding: “These are desperate times that call for a more proactive regulatory approach. People need alternative remedies to prevent or treat COVID-19.”
Deputy Speaker and Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera, 1Pacman Rep. Enrico Pineda and Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor pushed for the use of the drug for COVID-19 treatment.
Pineda and Defensor are both COVID-19 survivors. Defensor said he took ivermectin along with vitamins and supplements during his home quarantine.
Earlier, the FDA shut down the laboratory of Dr. Allan Landrito, who was compounding ivermectin for sale to COVID-19 patients.
At the House hearing, the FDA said it would discuss with drug manufacturers how pending applications for ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment could be fast-tracked.
The DOH said more scientific evidence is needed to prove the drug’s efficacy against the virus.
But Herrera reiterated the stance of ivermectin advocates that it is an inexpensive and effective alternative medicine for COVID-19 and that it can “dramatically reduce” deaths. She said the FDA, as a regulatory agency, should keep “an open mind” on ivermectin because it is much cheaper than other drugs currently being used to treat COVID-19.
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