FDA has no power to punish Defensor, Marcoleta for distributing ivermectin

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has admitted that it has no jurisdiction over Health Rep. Mike Defensor and Rescue Rep. Rodante Marcoleta who recklessly distributed ivermectin despite experts’ warnings.

The use against COVID-19 of the controversial anti-parasitic drug for animals ivermectin is now a hot topic.

At a media forum, FDA director-general Eric Domingo said the agency’s mandate to monitor medical professionals is limited to ensure the drug is safe, quality, and effective.

Domingo asserted that ivermectin for COVID-19 does not have a sufficient basis as a drug that cannot be bought at a pharmacy.

Domingo argued that Congress has the power to punish congressmen for any wrongdoing.

“Actually, more technically, ang merong binabantayan natin yung mga professionals o yung doctor, yung pharmacist, kung sino yung botika na nagpo-provide nito at kung saan nanggaling, Yung supplier ng gamot. Yun ang ano kasi ng FDA. Ang FDA, ang primary mandate naman namin is to make sure that the that are used are safe, good quality and effective po,” said Domingo.

However, Domingo said they are still investigating the distribution of ivermectin by Defensor and Marcoleta, but they can only punish pharmacies and health professionals.

FDA has no power to punish Defensor, Marcoleta for distributing ivermectin

Meanwhile, a group of doctors questioned the FDA’s allegedly volatile position on ivermectin.

Dr. Benigno Agbayani, president of Concerned Doctors and Citizens for the Philippines (CDCP), told TeleRadyo that the FDA’s seemingly inconsistent position is only causing confusion.

The CDCP is in favor of ivermectin.

After the FDA said that there was still a lack of evidence in favor of its benefit, they issued compassionate use permits to some hospitals.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is confident that it is possible to shorten the 8-month study on the effectiveness of ivermectin.

Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of DOST, said it is possible that the clinical trial will end this year if a sufficient number of volunteers are obtained immediately, particularly those affected by COVID-19 but only mild or asymptomatic.

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