41 medical groups warn against using ivermectin
MANILA, Philippines — Some 41 medical groups and societies under the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) asked the public on Wednesday not to use the controversial drug ivermectin to treat the respiratory disease.
“Let us not patronize ivermectin in order to avoid any further harm to our health. We remind the public that there is no way to know if the circulating ivermectin capsules are legitimate or effective,” the group said in a statement.
The HPAAC reminded the public that the distribution of ivermectin was in direct violation of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulatory practices.
“We at HPAAC [also] call on our fellow health-care workers to unite in our advocacy: to protect the Filipino public against this pandemic using scientific, evidence-based medicine,” it said.
Among the groups that signed the statement were the Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Society of the Philippines; Philippine Academy of Occupational Therapists; Philippine Academy of Pediatric Pulmonologists; Philippine Academy of Physicians in School Health; Philippine College of Emergency Medicine; Philippine College of Physicians; Philippine General Hospital Physicians’ Association; Philippine Neurological Association; Philippine Pharmacists Association; and Philippine Society of Public Health Physicians.
Some lawmakers and doctors have been actively pushing for the use of the antiparasitic drug to treat COVID-19.
During the online Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum, FDA director general Eric Domingo said there were now six hospitals with an approved compassionate special permit (CSP) to use ivermectin.
But he again refused to name the hospitals, citing the privacy of patients. He only said that it was up to the hospitals to admit whether they were among the six since there was no FDA rule stopping them from doing so.
Domingo reiterated that there were currently not enough studies to determine if ivermectin could be used effectively to treat COVID-19.
He also said the drug could not be sold commercially since a CSP did not constitute a marketing authorization.
The FDA has yet to issue a regular license to any manufacturer for the production of human-grade ivermectin.
The HPAAC said its appeal echoed that of the Philippine College of Physicians and the Philippine Medical Association, which had also warned against the use of the drug.
The group added that it also supports the position of the Philippine Pharmacists Association which had said the widespread distribution of ivermectin could be in violation of the Philippine Pharmacy Act and should therefore be investigated by the Department of Health and FDA.
“If they are found at fault, we also call on the Professional Regulation Commission to investigate and hold them liable for breaking the law,” it said.
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