A multisectoral group has appealed to Malacanang and Congress to order the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to facilitate the issuance of appropriate permits for the immediate production and distribution of Ivermectin drug to prevent and treat COVID-19.
“An Appeal to Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco” was issued by several organizations to pressure government agencies to act with urgency on the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in the country.
“We respectfully appeal to our Hon. President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to give serious, urgent and immediate attention to Ivermectin as an inexpensive drug to prevent and treat Covid-19 during this public health crisis,” said the appeal signed by 17 organizations, led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The appeal was issued after the FDA said it can only allow compassionate special permit for the use of human grade repurposed Ivermectin. But the business groups said these procedures are cumbersome and not conducive to a wider use of the drug, not to mention the fee that has to be paid by patient or institution which is more than the cost of the drug itself.
Thus, the groups requested the President to direct the FDA, DOH, and the DOST to: 1) Pro-actively look into the credible testimonials of a substantial number of Filipinos, including well-known members of Philippine society, and on the studies of several local and foreign medical researchers on the efficacy and safety of Ivermectin in preventing and treating covid-19 cases; and 2) Issue the appropriate permit or authority to persons, natural or artificial, to manufacture, compound, import, distribute and sell Ivermectin.
Likewise, the groups asked Congress to pass the appropriate legislation or resolution to expedite the availability of and easy access to Ivermectin by the masses.
“We are in a severe public health emergency. Our people are dying in big numbers on a daily basis and our hospitals can no longer accommodate those who are getting sick of the virus. The number of cases is growing bigger and bigger. Our people are desperate for a preventive and curative drug against covid-19,” they said.
The groups also cited well-founded reasons to believe that Ivermectin, repurposed as a human grade drug to prevent and treat Covid-19 cases, will do much good based on widespread testimonials and studies made on Ivermectin.
For instance, the groups said that 22 percent of the world is already using Ivermectin to successfully fight Covid-19, according to the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Philippines), an advocate for the use of Ivermectin as a preventive and curative drug against Covid-19.
In India, South Africa and many Latin American countries, Ivermectin is widely used as a Covid-19 drug. Low Cost Remdesivir, the current drug being used to treat COVID-19 – infected patients, costs around P28,000 per vial and must be administered twice daily until the patient is discharged.
“This drug is beyond the means of the average Filipino, most especially the poor. Ivermectin, on the other hand, costs only around P35, has been sold over-the-counter for 40 years, and is generally administered daily for three days, which means a person only needs to spend a little over P100 for the entire treatment. The preventive dose is only once every two weeks,” the groups pointed out.
In making this appeal, the groups pointed out that protection and promotion of the right to health of the people is enshrined under the Constitution.
With the sufficient vaccine supply against Covid-19 still forthcoming, the present health crisis calls for urgent and decisive action by government to provide a low-cost preventive and curative drug easily accessible to our people.
“We strongly believe that many more Filipinos, especially the poor, can be saved from Covid-19 infection and death if Ivermectin is made immediately available to our people as prescribed by medical doctors without further delay and threats of administrative and criminal sanctions.
“With the immediate availability of Ivermectin in the country, the health of the Filipinos will be protected and promoted, and the economy of the country will be restored and enhanced,” the groups concluded.
Signatories include Amb. Benedicto V. Yujuico, president Philippine Chamber of of the Philippines Commerce and Industry; Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr., president Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Jose Luis U. Yulo Jr., president Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands; Jesus L. Arranza, chairman Federation of Philippine Industries Inc. (FPI); Atty. Rico V. Domingo, president, Philippine Bar Association; Alberto D. Lina, president FPI; Atty. Ferdinand A. Nague, president Maritime Law Association of the Philippines; Fernando L. Martinez, president PCCI Pasig City; Atty. Joey Lina, president Sagot Kita Bayan; Cory Quirino, chairman, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption; Nelson Celis, president Philippine Computer Society; Leonardo Q. Montemayor Jr., chairman Federation of Free Farmers; Dr. Benigno A. Agbayani Jr. MD, FPOA, president Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines; Antonio Sarmiento Jr., president Philippine Federation of Pest Management Operators Associations Inc.; Greg Atienza, executive director SOULPh; Luis Marcos Laurel President, president Class 1986 Ateneo Law School; and Ofelia Odilao-Bisnar, senior vice-president ICMA UP Chapter, trustee, Food for Hungry Minds Inc.