The Philippines has taken a step closer to fully authorizing ivermectin for the use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19.The Department of Health went on the record that the anti-parasitic drug can be used in “off-label” prescription targeting the coronavirus. Up until now, access to the drug for COVID-19 required compassionate use permits; to date, six hospitals secured such a status to access the drug for COVID-19 patients. Much like is the case in America, a licensed physician may prescribe ivermectin off label at his/her own discretion in consultation with the patient. In the Philippines, the doctor will be liable for any associated adverse effects, reported Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in a recent briefing. This is a change in direction from just several days ago, when the government was resisting authorization, as reported by TrialSite.
The pressure for allowing off-label ivermectin use for the COVID-19 indication has grown from a combination of lawmakers, select physician groups, and patient rights advocates. And as TrialSite reported, the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) awarded Lloyd Laboratories with a certificate of product registration (CPR), meaning that the firm will ramp up ivermectin production. Clearly, the government here is gearing up for a possible mass ivermectin treatment strategy while a large clinical trial involving the drug commences.