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Misleading the public

"More on Ivermectin"

 

The other night, Food and Drug Administration chief Eric Domingo presented to President Rodrigo Duterte his recommendation on what is touted as the miracle medicine against COVID-19—Ivermectin.

In his recommendation, Domingo strongly rejected the use of the said drug as prophylaxis or preventive medicine, and as treatment for COVID-19, saying Ivermectin is a medicine for animal use.

Again, Domingo seems to have misled the President, and the public for that matter, that what is being prescribed by doctors are human-grade Ivermectin capsules. With a 15 milligram-strength.

This is not the first time Domingo had misled the public regarding medicines which are being claimed to treat COVID-19. 

Last year, giving in to pressure regarding the use of Lianhua Qingwen, which former Senator Bongbong Marcos and MMDA chief Benhur Abalos both claim to have cured them from the dreaded virus, Domingo gave the Chinese traditional medicine the accreditation but not for COVID-19 treatment and on condition that it should be prescribed by a doctor with a narcotics license. He said Lianhua contains ephedra, a plant-based substance which contains ephedrine, which is included in the narcotics drugs list. 

However, a doctor whom I had interviewed said the FDA’s assessment is not accurate as Lianhua comes in three forms— syrup, capsule and an injectable. Among the three, only the injectable form supposedly contains ephedra.

Also, both the Department of Health and the FDA had already given the go-signal for Ivermectin as early as 2017 when it included the said medicine in the 8th Edition of the Philippine National Formulary Essential Medicines List, but only for a 3-mg and 6-mg-strength tablets.

So, why the 180-degree turn-around now? Why rely on the report of the National Institute of Health—University of the Philippines, whose member, Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana, an infectious disease doctor pushing for the expensive Remdesivir, and who reportedly served as a speaker or member of the speakers’ bureau for Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca, Cathay Drug Company and Merck?

Is the study of the NIH-UP more reliable than that of the NIH in other parts of the world like the United States which has recommended Ivermectin as an option in treating COVID-19?

Dr. Pierre Kory, of the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, has come up with a one-page summary of the clinical trials evidence for Ivermectin in COVID-19, which Domingo and FDA have yet to debunk.

Part of the study is as follows: 

Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medicine whose discovery won the Nobel Prize in 2015, has proven, highly potent, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties in laboratory studies. In the past 4 months, numerous, controlled clinical trials from multiple centers and countries worldwide are reporting consistent, large improvements in COVID-19 patient outcomes when treated with ivermectin. 

Properties of Ivermectin: (a) Ivermectin inhibits the replication of many viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and others; (b) Ivermectin has potent anti-inflammatory properties with multiple mechanisms of inhibition; (c) Ivermectin diminishes viral load and protects against organ damage in animal models; 

(d) Ivermectin prevents transmission of COVID-19 when taken either pre- or post-exposure; (e)  Ivermectin hastens recovery and decreases hospitalization and mortality in patients with COVID-19; and, (f)  Ivermectin leads to far lower case-fatality rates in regions with widespread use. 

FLCCC’s clinical trial involved 6,612 patients in 27 controlled trials.

While this may be a small sample size, this could serve as basis for some compassionate permit as FDA has granted for the expensive Remdesivir. It would even be better if they would accept the request or challenge of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines for a debate on the matter.

And no less than 1Pacman Rep. Eric Pineda has thrown in his support for the “miracle drug.”

In a statement,  Pineda called on the FDA and DoH to consider Ivermectin, which he described “as a game changer, which could be the key to saving our country from further economic downfall.” 

“I am calling on the FDA to acknowledge and eventually, allow the emergency use of Ivermectin for treatment against COVID19. Of course, it should only be administered by a medical doctor, being a medicine intended for parasitic treatment,” Pineda, who is also the Chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment, continued.

Pineda says that compared to Remdesivir—the current drug being used to treat COVID-19-infected patients that costs P28,000.00 per vial and administered twice daily until such time that the patient is discharged—Pineda says Ivermectin only costs around P35 pesos, to be administered once daily for three days—totaling just a little over 100 pesos, together with vitamins, to treat the illness. 

“If an infected patient is confined at a hospital due to COVID-19, one can only imagine the hospital bills a patient may incur, which they most likely would not be able to afford,” the legislator further said.

According to doctors, 22 percent of the world is already using Ivermectin to fight COVID-19, avers Pineda.

“Without sufficient vaccines, we have to look into other methods to fight the virus, which is ever evolving. New strains are popping up, the next more dangerous and infectious. I myself have been infected and have experienced the effects of the virus. Several of my family members have been infected, my eldest son twice. Given the current spike in our COVID-19 active cases and infection rate, rendering our hospitals to be at full capacity, Ivermectin can help boost our prospects in fighting the dreaded virus. I would enjoin our pharmaceutical companies to produce the drug for human use. We cannot turn our heads. Please, let’s not close the door to Ivermectin—a drug with life-saving potential,” Pineda says.

Rightfully said, Congressman. And if I may add, please do not mislead the President, much more, the public.

* * *

Here’s something from a local government official to his colleagues.

With reports coming in that some local government officials are jumping the line to have their shots ahead of the front liners who are supposed to be prioritized, Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone appealed to his colleagues to strictly abide by the priority listing as contained in the vaccine rollout of the DoH and the IATF.

“I’m appealing to my fellow LGUs nationwide to strictly follow the priority listings of the DOH/IATF/DOH in the vaccine rollout. 

We should set the example in ensuring proper and orderly vaccination rollout. Let’s avoid jumping the queue. 

Let’s protect first the health workers and front liners. anyway, the national government has assured the general public that all the targeted 70 million Filipinos will be vaccinated once the supply is available. we really have to understand that there’s a tight supply worldwide. 

As stated by President Duterte himself, our country’s allocations from the WHO consortium might be jeopardized if we don’t adhere to the terms of the donations. We also fully support the initiative of Sen bong go to encourage private sector to set up vaccine manufacturing plants in the country so that we will not be dependent on foreign sources in the long-term. 

Senator (Bong) Go’s  initiative is very timely and extremely important. all the incentives like tax breaks should be granted to these private companies to encourage them to set up the plants in the country” Evardone’s statement read.

Topics: Food and Drug Administration , Eric Domingo , Rodrigo Duterte , Ivermectin , COVID-19
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