After statements from health authorities warning the public against the use of Ivermectin as a cure to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), a doctor member of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Ph) has decided to stop dispensing medication and instead use his resources to inform the public on the value of the controversial anti-parasitic drug.
Dr. Allan Landrito, a practicing integrative medical doctor and a member of CDC Ph, said in a statement that he will discontinue compounding and dispensing Ivermectin in response to the declarations made by the Department of Health (DoH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“God only knows how many thousands of lives have already been spared of a horrible and lonely Covid death because Dr. Landrito did what it seems very few Filipino doctors are willing to do nowadays: Risk his own personal liberty to ensure that his patients can get the best possible remedy to stave off the deadly coronavirus,” the CDC Ph said in a statement.
“Until these health authorities recommend otherwise, Dr. Landrito does not want to give the impression that he will go beyond government regulations,” it added. Landrito, for his part, said he will now devote his time to explain to Filipinos why Covid-19 is not the death sentence his critics are portraying it to be and how they, too, can overcome their fear.
To recall, the medical specialist along with other members of CDC Ph is advocating the use of the said medication for Covid-19 prevention and early treatment.
He had claimed successful experiences in the Philippines in more than 8,000 patients which are prophylaxed with Ivermectin, saying that it is “99 percent, if not 100 percent” effective among his patients.
As a prophylaxis, Landrito said the antiparasitic drug allows natural infection to occur but prevents the disease from developing and thereafter promotes an immune response that confers natural immunity.
The FDA, however, issued a statement against the purchase and use of Ivermectin for Covid-19 patients, saying that its “benefits and safety for this purpose has not been established.”
Ivermectin is an FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug that has also been shown to be effective in vitro against a broad range of viruses including HIV, Dengue, Influenza, Chikungunya and Zika viruses among others.
The DoH in a statement on Monday appealed to medical groups to refrain from promoting the use of drugs that are allegedly effective in preventing Covid-19 without sufficient evidence.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said it was “dangerous” for the public to use medicines such as anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin over Covid-19 prevention and early treatment due to lack of scientific evidence supporting the claims of some doctors.
“I had been monitoring social media and people are selling Ivermectin online and this is really dangerous,” Vergeire said in a news conference.
“We are appealing to our doctors, to our [medical] societies since the public is listening to our recommendations and they know we are trustworthy. If there is no scientific basis, let’s not make sweeping statements,” she added.
The health official said doctors should note that Ivermectin drug does not show a good outcome in trials made by other countries.
She also noted that Ivermectin products registered in the Philippines are veterinary products.
Distributor claims success
Landrito had claimed successful experiences in the Philippines in more than 8,000 patients which used Ivermectin as prophylaxis. He claims that Ivermectin is effective in 99 percent, if not 100 percent among his patients.
“I am seeing that symptomatic swab-positive patients are responding to this. It usually takes 3 to 4 days, then I am surprised that patients are improving,” Landrito wrote in a Facebook post dated 16 October.
The FDA has previously warned the public against the purchase and use of Ivermectin for Covid-19 patients, saying its “benefits and safety for this purpose has not been established.”
Health experts across the globe have also warned that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the drug can be a remedy for patients infected with Covid-19, despite articles and social media posts in Brazil, France, South Africa and South Korea promoting Ivermectin to supposedly prevent coronavirus infection among the general public.