Following questions raised on the use of Ivermectin, the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD) advised the public to heed the recommendations of regulatory agencies mandated to review and approve consumer products, including drugs and medicines, for general use.

QCHD stressed it is not distributing, nor has it endorsed or supported the use of antiparasitic drug Ivermictin as a preventive drug or cure for COVID-19, citing the joint official statement released by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“We will follow whatever is the stand of the DOH-FDA on the issue since this is very well under their jurisdiction, given their mandate to review consumer products. And if they don’t authorize the use of this drug for Covid-19, we will rely on their expertise. We are issuing this statement because it is a public health issue and our QCitizens’ well-being is our mandate,” said QCHD Chief Dra. Esperanza Arias.

Arias said the QCHD is one with the public in seeking fast measures to address the disease but she said this should not come at the expense of regulatory processes that test products and medicines for their safety and efficacy.

“There are also other factors we need to consider if we will use this, such as the correct dosage to get maximum benefit. Public health should never be compromised at any given time,” said Arias.

The DOH-FDA have released an official statement where it told the public that it “STRONGLY ADVISED AGAINST the purchase and use of Ivermectin veterinary products for the treatment of COVID-19.”

It added that “At present, Ivermectin veterinary products are only approved for use in the prevention of heartworm disease and treatment of internal and external parasites in certain animal species.”

In another interview, Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo stressed that the use of human-grade Ivermectin drug is only legal if prescribed by a physician and compounded by a licensed pharmacy.

Likewise, Ivermectin’s manufacturer Merck released a statement saying that there “is no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies; no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease; and a concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies.”

Even the United States Food and Drug Administration advised against the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19. In its website, the U.S. FDA stated: “While there are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals, it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and acquired from a legitimate source.”

In a House hearing, World Health Organization Representative to the Philippines Dr Rabindra Abeyasinghe meanwhile stressed the need for “carefully controlled and planned” clinical trials of Ivermectin.

The FDA recently granted a compassionate special permit for an unnamed hospital’s use of Ivermetin, but its use is only limited to the hospital.

In the meantime, the QCHD reminds the public to stick to proven minimum health standards to curb the further spread of COVID-19.

“Let us not forget to keep our guards up by washing our hands regularly, wearing our face mask and face shield, and by socially distancing,” said Arias.