The use and prescription of the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin should be put on hold until enough evidence supports its safety and effectiveness, the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) said on Sunday.

In a statement, the doctors’ group strongly opposed the distribution of unregistered drugs like Ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19.

“Based on current evidence from randomized controlled trials, Ivermectin does not significantly improve clinical outcomes or reduce death among adults with mild Covid-19 infection,” the statement read.

Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor and Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta organized the “Ivermectin Pan-three” last April 29, where Quezon City residents were given free Ivermectin tablets.

The PCP also called on leaders of communities and institutions “to stay firm with our resolve to be guided by science and medical information based on robust research.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted a few hospitals compassionate special permits (CSP) that allow them to use Ivermectin against Covid-19.

Under FDA Administrative Order 4 s. 1992, a CSP grants some institutions “the privilege to avail of an unregistered drug and device product through a certain licensed establishment for certain kind/type of patients, specific volume and period.”

In a Twitter post, former Inter-Agency Task Force adviser Dr. Anthony Leachon criticized the Department of Health (DOH) and the FDA’s move to grant CSPs.

“The FDA has weakened itself and opened floodgates to Ivermectin Rx. (prescription). DOH and FDA are weak agencies,” Leachon wrote Saturday, May 1.

PCP said that allowing the use of Ivermectin might also endanger those who take it with possibly harmful side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, neurologic adverse events (dizziness, seizures, confusion), sudden drop in blood pressure potentially requiring hospitalization, and liver injury or hepatitis.

“Let us also refrain from thinking that we are saving our countrymen from the complications of Covid-19 by giving them medicines that are not proven remedies,” it added.

The Philippine Medical Association and Philippine Pharmacists Association have also spoken out against the use of Ivermectin. Charlene Grace Lao