Senator Imee Marcos on Tuesday backed calls urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to start studies on the effectiveness of the controversial anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin against the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Marcos said if the pharmaceutical company manufacturing the drug has applied and complied with requirements set by the local drug regulator, the FDA has the responsibility to expedite its approval or disapproval of the medication.
“It is the DoH’s (Department of Health) duty to study all possible treatments, cures and medicines (for Covid-19). If Ivermectin has applied with the FDA, complying with usual requisites, it should expedite its decision,” the senator told Daily Tribune.
She likewise criticized the regulator’s sluggish decision on the application of Ivermectin saying it diverts from the deadline it vowed on senators.
“Despite the promise of a two-week deadline on all Covid-related applications, we have reports that once again the FDA has failed to act on Ivermectin’s application pending with them since last year,” Marcos added.
Ivermectin made headlines after a group of doctors in the Philippines rallied for its use as Covid-19 prevention and early treatment.
The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDCP) said that the drug is effective as a prophylaxis against the deadly virus.
As a prophylactic medication, the antiparasitic drug allows the natural infection to occur but prevents the disease from developing and thereafter promotes an immune response that confers natural immunity to those taking the medicine.
Dr. Allan Landrito, a CDCP member, even claimed successful experiences in the country in more than 8,000 patients. He said that Ivermectin is effective in 99 percent, if not 100 percent of his patients.
However, Landrito decided to stop dispensing the medication and instead use his resources to inform the public on the value of the controversial anti-parasitic drug.
The FDA previously 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.”
Meanwhile, the Health Professionals Alliance Against Covid-19 (HPAAC) spokesperson urged critics and supporters of the anti-parasitic drug to refrain from engaging in a word war and instead wait for the official results of the clinical trials being held for Ivermectin.
HPAAC spokesperson Tony Dans said that the best evidence for its effectivity relies on the data which will be concluded once the laboratory examinations for the medication come to an end.
“The HPAAC calls for critics and supporters to not hurl insults to one another as it will only lead to more difficulties for our countrymen. Let us just wait for the results of the trials,” he said during an online briefing.
Tests held worldwide
The medical professional noted 73 ongoing trials being conducted in various countries to determine the efficacy of Ivermectin against Covid-19. He added that it will only take 28 days to complete the research.
“This is what HPAAC believes: the best evidence that Ivermectin is promising is the clinical trials. There are 73 examinations in different countries right now but those researches are enough evidence to say that we do not have sufficient information about its effectiveness. If we do, then the trials will stop,” he said.
“If it turns out to be effective then thank God because that means that we have discovered a medication against Covid-19. But if not, then the argument is over. There are other medications being studied against coronavirus,” he added.
CDCP also noted 22 percent acceptance in the world in terms of the use of Ivermectin against Covid-19.
Multiple studies and meta-analyses confirm the effectiveness of Ivermectin as a safe oral drug used for over 40 years for other illnesses in humans, the group noted.
A summary of evidence on Ivermectin versus Covid 19 from Ivmmeta.com stated all of the 46 studies report positive effects or a 79 percent reduction in infections while its prophylactic use showed 89 percent improvement in avoidance of contracting the virus.
Results showed the use of the drug lowered mortality by 75 percent and 84 percent lower for early treatment.
All of the 24 Randomized Controlled Trials report positive effects with an estimated 70 percent improvement, it added.