Reps. Defensor, Marcoleta distribute free ivermectin to QC residents

MANILA, Philippines – Despite warnings from several medical groups and health authorities, Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor and Sagip Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta distributed free ivermectin capsules to 500 residents of Barangay Matandang Balara in Quezon City on Thursday, April 29.

The two lawmakers believe the anti-parasitic drug is a possible treatment for COVID-19.

Defensor, Marcoleta distribute free ivermectin to QC residents
PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter/Zandro Ochona

"Legally, we are compliant. On two occasions during the hearings, they said this process can be done. If they will again block this, then the people especially the poor will not be given the drug. I will fight them in court. They are too much," Defensor told reporters during an interview.

Recipients were required to accomplish a form and checked by on-site physicians who prescribed the de-worming medicine.

As of writing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed 5 hospitals access to ivermectin as experimental drug against the deadly coronavirus. Based on an advisory issued by the FDA last March, registered oral and intravenous forms of ivermectin in Philippines were veterinary products used to prevent heartworms and treat internal and external parasites in certain animals.

Meanwhile, FDA Director General Eric Domingo said he sees no problem with the distribution of the investigational drug as long as there will be doctors to check the patients and prescribe the medicine.

While several international studies suggest the effectivity of ivermectin against COVID-19, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) research executive director Dr. Jaime Montoya said experts are yet to establish the efficacy of the drug on Filipinos.

"There might be certain adverse events na unique lang sa mga Pilipino kaya very useful po ang magkaroon ng local trial sa ating bansa (that's unique to Filipinos so it's very useful to have local trials here)," he explained.

— Mini, The Summit Express

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