President Duterte has directed the Food and Drug Administration to take the lead in determining the course of action against the illegal trading or dispensing of ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug rumored to be effective against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte made the decision to avoid any conflict between the FDA and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in determining which drugs should be on the market.
“To ensure the safety and welfare of the public and at the same time avoid any unnecessary conflicts, the FDA has been directed to take the lead in determining the course of action against the illegal trading/dispensing of Ivermectin,” Roque said Wednesday.
“The PNP cannot arbitrarily determine on their own which drug/s should not be on the market. All operations to apprehend or seize goods must be done in coordination with the FDA,” he added.
According to Roque, the President’s order is focused on ivermectin for veterinary use that has been repackaged to mislead the public. He advised the public to consult with doctors first before taking the said drug.
“What is being ordered to stop is the sale/trade of ivermectin for veterinary use that has been repackaged as human-grade, including those that have not been determined by competent authorities as safe to be used in humans,” he said.
“Having said this, we advise the public to seek the advice of medical practitioners before taking medicines and/or supplements,” he added.
The Palace official said President Duterte has been keeping himself updated about the developments concerning ivermectin.
“The President is closely monitoring the developments concerning ivermectin here and abroad. He has even directed the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) to give him weekly updates on Ivermectin studies and FDA-related clearance,” Roque said.
Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said this week that the Philippines will soon conduct clinical trials on ivermectin to determine if it can really be used to treat COVID-19 patients.