DOH tells lawmakers: Law vs use of unregistered drugs ‘self-explanatory’
MANILA, Philippines — The law against the use of unregistered drugs is self-explanatory, the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday told lawmakers who advocate for the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment.
The use of unregistered medical products is prohibited under Republic Act No. 9711, or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“Nakalagay sa batas natin sa (It is stated in) RA 9711, manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, promotion or advertising or sponsorship of health protocols without proper authorization of FDA is prohibited. I think that’s self-explanatory,” she said in an online press briefing.
Vergeire was being asked about lawmakers who advocate for the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 infection despite repeated warnings from health authorities that the drug is not registered for use on humans.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the United States had called the anti-parasitic ivermectin a “wonder drug,” alongside penicillin and aspirin, despite its origin as a veterinary drug. The NIH said the drug kills a wide range of internal and external parasites in commercial livestock and companion animals.
Earlier on Monday, AnaKalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor said he will be giving away ivermectin for free to Quezon City residents, prioritizing senior citizens and those who are sickly.
He later defended this move saying there should be consent before a person receives the anti-parasitic drug.
But according to Vergeire, only healthcare professionals are authorized to dispense drugs to the public.
“‘Yung pagdispense ng mga gamot dapat mga doktor at healthcare professionals ang gumagawa. Hindi pwedeng ordinaryong tao ang nagdi-dispense ng mga ito,” she said.
(The dispensing of drugs should be made by doctors and healthcare professionals. An ordinary person cannot do this.)
“Having said that, we would just like to advise the public na katulad ng lagi naming sinasabi, kapag hindi rehistrado ang gamot na ite-take niyo (that like what we always say, if the drug you will take is not registered), the government cannot assure that these can be safe for you and it is going to really protect your from this specific disease,” she added.
As proponents push for the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients, the FDA earlier said that Lloyd Laboratories Inc. has applied for a certificate of product registration of the drug for human use last Wednesday.
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