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Defensor insists nothing illegal with his initiative of distributing ivermectin

For Anakalusugan party-list Representative Mike Defensor, he is not doing anything illegal with pushing for the use of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin against COVID-19 as he even offered to distribute the drug for free for patients in Quezon City.

In an interview on Dobol B TV on Tuesday, Defensor said he has been obtaining ivermectin from legal compounding laboratories. He also emphasized that a doctor's prescription is still needed to use this drug.

"Ang DOH (Department of Health) at FDA (Food and Drug Administration), sinasabi nila wala pang clinical trials, tama po 'yun pero sinasabi din nila oh puwede na kayong mag-prescribe. Ang ginagawa ko po ay sa regulasyon ng batas, after FDA law at kung ano 'yung ginagawang alituntuntin ng FDA," Defensor said.

(The DOH and FDA said there's no clinical trials yet on ivermectin. However, the agencies are also saying that we can ask for a doctor's prescription for its use. I have been following the regulations of the FDA.)

"Ang ibig kong sabihin 'pag ikaw ay pumunta ng doktor, nagkaroon ka ng prescription, sinabing gamitin mo 'tong gamot na 'to, puwede. So it's not illegal, sinusundan ko pa rin within the parameters of FDA and DOH," Defensor added.

(What I mean is if you go to a doctor, you get a prescription allowing you to use ivermectin, that's allowed. It's not illegal. I'm still following the FDA and DOH.)

The lawmaker claimed that his colleagues in the chamber, some generals, justices and even members of the media have been asking him for ivermectin.

Defensor earlier said he will distribute ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients in Quezon City even if the drug is still unregistered for human use.

Defensor said those individuals with comorbidities and senior citizens would be prioritized in his initiative.

According to the DOH, the FDA will look into Defensor's distribution of the said drug.

Defensor has been insisting that ivermectin is "safe" and might be effective despite zero clinical trials on using the ivermectin to treat virus-hit patients.

The DOH and the FDA maintained their stand against the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients amid calls of some individuals, including lawmakers, to authorize the use of ivermectin on COVID-19 patients.

Both agencies said a study of six trials by reviewers from the Philippine COVID-19 Living Clinical Practice Guidelines showed that ivermectin did not reduce the risk of mortality among COVID-19 patients as well as their duration of hospitalization.

The drug was also not associated with a definite benefit of other clinically important outcomes such as clinical improvement at Day 6-10, clinical deterioration, and need for mechanical ventilation, the study stated.

The World Health Organization, for its part, also opposed the use of ivermectin as possible treatment for COVID-19. — RSJ, GMA News