FALSE: Ivermectin approved as COVID-19 cure in the Philippines

At a glance:
  • Claim: Ivermectin is now approved as a COVID-19 cure in the Philippines. 
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: There is still no approved cure for COVID-19 as of Thursday, April 8. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Philippines has only issued to one hospital a limited permit to use Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment, but this does not guarantee its safety and efficacy.
  • Why we fact-checked this: This claim appeared in many YouTube videos and Facebook posts. One of the YouTube videos uploaded on March 31 has reached 158,355 views as of writing.
Complete details:

On March 31, a YouTube video in the channel “DDS NEWSINFO” falsely claimed that Ivermectin is now approved as a cure for COVID-19 in the Philippines.

The full title of the video read: “BREAKING NEWS TODAY MARCH 31, 2021 PRES DUTERTE GOOD NEWS TULFO CONG DEFENSOR IVERMECTIN APPROBADO (approved).” The video also claimed: “IVERMECTIN EPEKTIBONG GAMOT SA COVID (IVERMECTIN EFFECTIVE CURE FOR COVID).” As of writing, the video has 158,355 views. 

Similar titles with the claim about Ivermectin’s purported approval can also be found in YouTube videos from the channels “MOWDIEFIE NEWS UPDATE,” “PH BREAKING NEWS,” “DDS MEDIA,” “Mr. TenCen,” and “Gienua TV.” Some of these videos were cited in posts in the Facebook groups “SUPPORT PRESIDENT DUTERTE” and “SUPPORT GENERAL PARLADE AND ERIC.”

The claim is false.

There is still no approved cure for COVID-19 to date.

When the videos were posted, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Philippines had not yet issued any permit for the use of Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. The FDA issued to one hospital a limited permit to use Ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment only on Thursday, April 8.

Still, having the permit does not guarantee that the drug is proven effective or that it is already recommended by the FDA.

The Department of Health (DOH) also warned on Wednesday, April 7, that it is illegal to distribute and promote Ivermectin as a COVID-19 cure under the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009.

On March 29, the FDA issued a statement that clarified that the purchase and use of Ivermectin are not banned as long as they are for FDA-registered uses.

In the Philippines, the Ivermectin allowed – and freely sold online – is the one for animals, used to treat heartworm disease. For humans, the Ivermectin available in the country is "in topical formulations under prescription use only," the FDA had said.

Still, FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said that doctors and hospitals can apply for a compassionate special permit (CSP) from the FDA to be able to use Ivermectin for COVID-19, with full responsibility for the use.

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has also urged the FDA to speed up the application process for the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 symptoms. (READ: House to probe use of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin for COVID-19)

Rappler has fact-checked the YouTube channel “DDS NEWSINFO” multiple times before. – Percival Bueser/Rappler.com

This article was written by a volunteer of Rappler's fact-checking mentorship program, a 5-week exclusive and hands-on training on detecting, investigating, and verifying online misinformation and disinformation.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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