DOH to ‘act accordingly’ on 2 lawmakers’ distribution of ivermectin
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said that it will “act accordingly” on the distribution of ivermectin initiated by two lawmakers last week in Quezon City.
“We will act accordingly, according to the existing laws that we have in the country, according to identified violations, according to the accountable persons,” DOH Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press briefing when asked if the health department is looking at possible liabilities of the lawmakers.
“We are onto that position and direction na i-a-uphold namin kung ano ang sinasabi sa batas, at gagawin po namin ‘yan (We are onto that position and direction of upholding the law and we will do what it says),” she added.
Vergeire issued this warning after Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor and Sagip party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta gave away free ivermectin tablets to at least 200 individuals in Quezon City on Thursday.
Some prescriptions issued by participating physicians during the activity, however, were merely written on a blank piece of paper and did not have pertinent details of the prescribing doctor.
Vergeire said the DOH had already sent a formal letter to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) on Friday to relay reports of invalid prescriptions that were given during the activity.
“We would like to also know from them the practice of profession nitong mga sumali na (of these participating) healthcare workers who are licensed by PRC,” she said.
“The Secretary of Health also has given that instruction to FDA to do that parallel investigation as well,” Vergeire added.
The DOH earlier stressed that the unauthorized sale, distribution and other activities for unregistered medical products are violations of the Republic Act No. 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009.
Despite anecdotal reports on the supposed benefits of ivermectin, the DOH has been reiterating that the evidence is not yet sufficient to prove that the anti-parasitic drug is safe and effective for COVID-19 patients.
Five hospitals, however, have been granted compassionate special permits to use ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients.
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