PNP, Malacañang agree to stop going after legit ivermectin sellers – solon
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang and the Philippine National Police have agreed to stop arresting and conducting operations against legitimate sellers of ivermectin, as various groups believe that the anti-parasitic drug can be used for COVID-19, House Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera-Dy said on Tuesday.
Dy said she just had an online meeting with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Ferdinand Cui Jr., PNP chief General Debold Sinas, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Eric Domingo about the issue.
“I was able to explain to the PMS head, as well as to the PNP chief, that we should not arrest individuals who would want to purchase ivermectin from authorized sellers because it is not an illegal drug in the first place,” Herrera said during a meeting said to be organized by administration ally Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go.
“Secretary Cui agreed and he promised that, in the coming days, they will amend the memorandum. We stressed that there is a human-grade ivermectin medication and we should make it available and accessible to the public,” she added.
Herrera was referring to a memo supposedly issued by the PMS, which seeks the help of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in conducting operations against sellers and users of ivermectin.
The crackdown was meant to curb the illegal sale of fake, unregistered, or unlicensed ivermectin.
Dy also wished that the government would take a closer look into using ivermectin as a repurposed drug against COVID-19, especially as several studies were allegedly being conducted to show that the anti-parasitic drug could eradicate the coronavirus.
However, while there are members of the medical community pushing for the use of ivermectin, a lot of health organizations — among them, the World Health Organization to the Department of Health — have distanced themselves from suggestions to use ivermectin on COVID-19 patients.
“We hope the delay in the approval of ivermectin as COVID-19 drug is not deliberate. We also hope the FDA will maintain objectivity and it will not be swayed by large pharmaceutical firms lobbying against ivermectin,” Dy said.
“We should uphold the right of Filipinos to choose a COVID-19 treatment that is safe, effective, and affordable,” she added.
Currently, there is a growing debate within the medical community on whether COVID-19 patients should be given access to ivermectin, as the Philippines deals with another surge in COVID-19 cases.
As of Tuesday, the number of active COVID-19 cases zoomed to 165,534 after the Department of Health (DOH) tallied 8,571 new cases.
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