Doctors group ‘strongly’ opposes ivermectin distribution, calls for ‘urgent action’
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) “strongly” opposed the mass distribution of ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment and prevention, and urged the community leaders to refrain from thinking that they are saving Filipinos from COVID-19 by “giving them medicines that are not proven remedies.”
“PCP strongly opposes the dispensing of unregistered drugs, like ivermectin for indications that have not been scientifically established,” a statement by the PCP said, as read by its president, Dr. Mario Panaligan, in a press conference on Monday.
“We strongly recommend that the prescription and use of the drug ivermectin for prevention or treatment of COVID-19 be put on hold until we have sufficient evidence on its safety and effectiveness,” the statement added.
It also called on the Department Department of Health (DOH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other concerned agencies to “urgently act on the matter of mass distribution of ivermectin” recently.”
While the PCP understands the desire of “many concerned citizens” to immediately find a solution against the threats of COVID-19, it stressed that this should be guided by science.
“Amidst the chaos and controversies we find ourselves in, we call on everyone, particularly the thought leaders of communities and institutions, to stay firm with our resolve to be guided by science and medical information based on robust research,” the statement read.
“We have to resist being swayed by others despite the absence of enough scientific evidence. Let us also refrain from thinking that we are saving our countrymen from the complications of COVID-19 by giving them medicines that are not proven remedies. We may be exposing them to unwanted and possibly harmful side effects,” it added.
According to the PCP, ivermectin “does not significantly improve clinical outcomes or reduce death among adults with mild COVID-19,” as shown by “current evidence from randomized controlled trials.”
“In addition, ivermectin use is associated with side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, neurologic adverse events (dizziness, seizures, confusion), sudden drop in blood pressure, potentially requiring hospitalization, and liver injury (hepatitis),” the PCP added.
The group voiced its concern over the mass distribution of ivermectin after Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor and Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta led the distribution of ivermectin capsules to Quezon City residents.
This, even as the medicine has yet to secure FDA approval for human use, either as treatment for COVID-19 or as prophylaxis.
The FDA, however, has so far issued compassionate special permits to five hospitals. The DOH, meanwhile, has maintained that the anti-parasitic drug should only be for hospital use.
The Philippines will be holding its own clinical trial on the use of ivermectin as treatment for COVID-19.
The clinical trials would be led by Dr. Aileen Wang of the University of the Philippines-Manila and would be conducted in quarantine centers near the Philippine General Hospital.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.