FDA: No registered anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin for human use in PH

The Philippines' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Tuesday, March 30, that there is no registered anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin for human use in the country, amid the increasing popularity of social media posts promoting the drug to treat COVID-19.

In a House hearing on the country's pandemic response, FDA Director General Eric Domingo said that what's commercially available in the country is topical cream, which means that these Ivermectin products can only be applied on human skin.

The topical cream, however, is used "for the treatment of external parasites, such as head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea."

"Mayroon pong oral and tablets for veterinary use lang. Wala pong naka-register sa Pilipinas na for oral use for humans (We have oral and tablets for veterinary use. There's no Ivermectin drug for humans in the Philippines). In some other countries, there are commercially available for humans," Domingo said.

Domingo added that using the animal drug Ivermectin for humans "can cause serious harm."

"Animal drugs are often highly concentrated and can be highly toxic to humans," Domingo said in his presentation.

Legal ways

Domingo said that the FDA met with doctors advocating the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment, informing them that there are legal ways to test the drug here in the country.

"The are legal ways to use Ivermectin in the country by going through the process. All applications for authorization related to the COVID-19 mitigation are evaluated by FDA with outmost diligence and priority," he said.

Domingo said the FDA has not received any trial application on the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment.

To date, there is still no approved treatment for COVID-19. What's being used now are investigational drugs that were allowed under the compassionate use permit of the FDA. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.