It was personally ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte that clinical trials be held in the country for the use of antiparasitic drug ivermectin on coronavirus patients, said Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo.
Domingo said on Tuesday that the President gave the orders to the Departments of Health and Science and Technology to find out if the drug originally prescribed for the treatment of animals can be used on humans infected with COVID-19.
The order was given despite repeated warnings by the DOH and FDA that there is not enough evidence on the drug’s efficacy against the virus. Experts also claimed high doses of it could cause brain damage or even death.
“Si Presidente po mismo ang nag-utos noong Huwebes sa DOST at DOH na aralin,” Domingo said in a briefing. “Kasi marami din siyang naririnig at nababalitaan na may mga sumusuporta at meron ding siyentipikong nagsasabing kulang pa ang ebidensya. So inutos niya talaga sa pamahalaan na aralin na rin.”
It was revealed by Domingo that the DOST explained there are already numerous trials globally that are expected to be completed in the next few weeks, but Duterte insisted.
“Kaya lang, si Presidente, gusto niya talaga sigurong subukan sa ating mga Pilipino kaya inutos niya sa DOST na aralin din sa atin,” the regulatory chief added.