An association of pharmacists has raised concern over the distribution of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin in Quezon City. 

The drug, which is currently being tested as a potential treatment for COVID-19, could pose side effects as its efficacy is still unproven, the Philippine Pharmacists Association said. 

Apart from its potential danger, the PPA also warned that the distribution of ivermectin might be violating the country’s pharmacy law. 

“Lubos po kaming nababahala sa paraan ng pamimigay ng ivermectin bilang panangga laban sa COVID-19,” PPA President Gilda Saljay said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

According to Saljay, they were made aware of the situation after seeing photos on social media of two lawmakers issuing the controversial drug – specifically in Matandang Balara. She noted that the prescription being handed out did not contain the necessary details – a physician’s name and a license number. 

Saljay says this is a clear violation of the Republic Act 10918 or the Philippine Pharmacy Act, which regulates the practice of pharmacy in the country. 

“Malinaw po ‘yon na mga violative prescription kung ‘yon ang ginagamit nila,” she said. 

“Walang panghahawakan ang mga pasyente kung sakaling may mangyaring hindi kanais-nais sa kanila. In the health-care practice, we always believe in accountability, lalo na po dito sa gamot na ivermectin na under CSP o compassionate special permit.” Saljay added.

The officials giving out the drug were identified as Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor and Sagip party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta – with the event happening on Thursday (April 29). This, they did, after repeated warnings from health officials.

Currently, the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 is still being researched. 

On April 20, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced that the country will be conducting trials on the drug. However, the date for the trial’s start is yet to be revealed. 

In a press statement in March, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shared that ‘all current Ivermectin products registered in the country are for veterinary use and are only allowed for the treatment of internal and external parasites as well as prevention of heartworm disease in animals.’

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Image credit: Luis Robayo / AFP via Getty Images