Another hospital gets FDA nod to use ivermectin vs. COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — A second hospital has received the go-signal to use antiparasitic drug ivermectin on its COVID-19 patients, Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo confirmed on Friday despite the medicine's unproven efficacy against the disease.

"Yes, a second hospital applied for CSP (compassionate special permit) for Ivermectin and approved," he told CNN Philippines.

The unnamed health facility is the second hospital to receive such permit from the FDA this month. Doctors who will prescribe the drug will be held liable for possible side effects.

Domingo on Thursday admitted there has been "pressure" to allow ivermectin to be repurposed to cure COVID-19 patients. But he assured that the approvals have been based on merit and completion of requirements.

Former Health Secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin earlier warned that the regulatory agency can be held liable for granting the compassionate special permit. She said most of the prerequisites for the ivermectin CSP application “have not been complied with.”

Health experts have repeatedly raised their concerns on the lack of evidence on the efficacy of the drug against COVID-19. Some have pointed out that existing studies do not have solid proof due to factors like using ivermectin with other interventions, making it difficult to conclude that the outcome was solely due to it.

Apart from the limited use of ivermectin granted to hospitals, FDA only allows the use of oral ivermectin products on animals to prevent heartworm disease and treat infections due to parasites. Doctors can also prescribe topical ivermectin to treat parasitic infestations such as head lice and other skin conditions for humans.