Senator Panfilo Lacson said he views with an open mind the usage of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin as a possible treatment and prophylaxis for Covid-19.
Like many Filipinos, Lacson expressed confusion on the medication’s effectiveness brought about by the conflicting statements of its critics and supporters.
He said that while doctors and patients who have used Ivermectin are vouching for the drug, it is still important to take note of the warnings released by medical specialists that data from clinical trials proving its efficiency against coronavirus is still not enough.
“The scientific analysis being released is actually confusing. They already approved it in the United States. In fact, some Ivermectin drugs in the country came from there, some are from India, some are compounded by Dr. Allan Landrito. He admitted dispensing it to 8,000 patients and he said there has been no report of adverse effects,” the senator said.
“We talked to other doctors and they said clinical trials, random trials to conclude its effectiveness is not enough. They even warned of adverse effects such as brain damage and damage to the liver and kidney,” he added.
The legislator further said that the warring statements may have resulted in suspicions that big pharmacies are lobbying against Ivermectin—an argument claimed by its supporters.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, approved it for compassionate use to two hospitals in the country as of 9 April. The state regulator earlier said that any doctor or medical institution is likewise allowed to apply as long as they comply with the requirements.
“There are suspicions that big pharmacies are releasing lobby money. Those who are pro-Ivermectin believe that it is working. But the FDA has released a compassionate special permit,” he said.
Originally used as treatment for parasitic infestations, Ivermectin is gaining traction as a “wonder drug” against the deadly coronavirus.
Politicians and prominent figures have admitted to taking it including Senate President Vicente Sotto III and former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.
While he is not closing his doors on its possible usage, Lacson pointed out that the hype on Ivermectin proves one thing: the public is now “desperate” due to the continuous spike in Covid-19 infections in the country.
Although considered legal in the Philippines, health agencies such as the FDA and the Department of Health repeatedly warned the public against taking it saying that its effectiveness against the deadly virus is yet to be established.