Public warned vs online sellers of Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment
MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker Wes Gatchalian on Monday warned the public against online merchants selling the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.
Gatchalian, who previously served as chairperson of the House committee on trade and industry, said that while online shopping sites such as Lazada have clearly classified Ivermectin as a veterinary drug, some individuals may take advantage of the drug’s easy access especially with recent claims that Ivermectin can help treat COVID-19, a respiratory illness caused by new coronavirus SARS-Cov-2.
The Food and Drug Administration, however, has yet to approve the anti-parasitic drug for human use, Gatchalian stressed.
“Please be on the lookout for abusive online sellers who are taking advantage of the current situation and even manipulating the price of Ivermectin. I just want to remind the public that this drug has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human use and may be highly harmful to the health of our consumers,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
“People should never take animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and effectiveness in the particular species for which they are labeled. Using these products in humans could cause serious harm,” he added.
Gatchalian said e-commerce sites should tighten their monitoring especially on medicines and other drugs, particularly on their price and function.
He said e-commerce sites should exercise due diligence with regards to their merchants and not pass off the responsibility to law enforcement agencies to run after people who are behind these online illegal activities.
“For one, the prices of these should never exceed the suggested retail price. Second, they should ban sellers who market drugs to be utilized for other than their recommended function,” Gatchalian said.
The lawmaker likewise advised the public that while the FDA has yet to issue a compassionate special permit for Ivermectin to be used as a treatment for COVID-19, consumers should stick to the approved use of the drug for animals.
“Let us all be vigilant, help monitor and report to authorities online marketplaces for fraudulent covid-19 drugs, or those that sell unapproved products and make false or misleading claims, to protect the health and safety of our consumers,” Gatchalian said.
The use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 has recently sparked debate in the Philippine medical community.
Some have vouched on its efficacy to address the disease and said the government should make it available to COVID-19 patients.
But the World Health Organization (WHO) said prescribing Ivermectin without statistically significant evidence of its efficacy against COVID-19 is “harmful” since it would give “false confidence” to the public.
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