Pharmacists Oppose 'Irrational' Distribution of Ivermectin

Medicines can heal, but can also kill, the group said.
Photo/s: Shutterstock

A group of pharmacists said Friday it was against the "irrational" distribution of Ivermectin for COVID treatment after two lawmakers distributed the anti-parasitic to their constituents.

Compounding or preparing Ivermectin is also illegal without a valid prescription, the Philippine Pharmacists Association said. Ivermectin is FDA-approved for human use in the Philippines but not for COVID-19. It is also used on animals.

Also on Friday, the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Authority reminded the public that Ivermectin is not approved for COVID treatment.

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Compounding medicine without the supervision of physicians or dispensing pharmacists is against the Philippine Pharmacy Act, said Ma. Gilda Saljay, president of the  PPhA.

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Licensed pharmacists are allowed to compound medicine, but it should be for a specific patient only under strict monitoring in health facilities. Producing mass amounts of compounded medicine is called manufacturing, and manufacturing Ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment is illegal without a license from the FDA.

The FDA issues compassionate special permits to hospitals who apply for the use of Ivermectin to their patients. As of now, only five hospitals secured CSPs.

"So for a drug under CSP, hindi pa maaaring mag-manufacture kasi wala pang lisensya o certificate of product registration. Hindi pa siya registered for FDA for human use at bawal na bawal pong mag-mass manufacture nito," Saljay told TeleRadyo on Friday.

"Ang mga gamot kasi it's double-edged, puwede siyang makagamot, maka-heal but it could also kill as well. That's how risky ang mangyayari kapag umiinom tayo ng gamot na wala pang sapat na pag-aaral na nagawa."

The Department of Science and Technology will run clinical trials on the use of Ivermectin. The study could run for at least six months.

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Invalid prescriptions

Photos from the "Ivermectin pantry" initiated by Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta and Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor showed "prescriptions" from doctors on site. Missing from the prescriptions are the prescribing doctor's name, contact number, signature and PRC ID Number.

In its official statement, the PPhA said a valid prescription should include the following details:

  • Date of Issuance
  • Patient's Information (complete name, address, and age)
  • Physician's Information (name, address, contact number, signature, and PRC ID number)
  • Drug name
  • Drug strength
  • Dosage form
  • Quantity prescribed
  • Direction for use

The absence of any information mentioned above may deem a prescription "erroneous" or "violative," Saljay said. She was also alarmed by the waivers given to those waiting to receive their supply of Ivermectin.

Part of the waiver reads: "Aking ipinapakawalan ang nagbigay nito sa anumang responsibilidad, aksyon, o kaso sa pagbibigay sa akin ng medisinang ito." Defensor claimed it is a standard form used for all drugs for COVID-19.

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"Maaaring may pangalan ng doktor doon sa waiver na sinagutan ng mga pasyente. If anything, dahil sa waiver na sinagot ng mga pasyente, dahil pinirmahan nila 'yun, ibig sabihin hindi na nila pupuwedeng habulin o panagutin 'yung mga involved o nag-organize o nagbahagi ng Ivermectin sa kanila," she said.

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