Petitioners appeal to Duterte, Congress to allow use of Ivermectin vs COVID-19

Leaders of various sectors appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to allow the use of Ivermectin as cure against coronavirus disease amid the alarming increase in COVID cases in the country.

In a letter dated 31 March 2021 to Duterte, Sotto, and Velasco, the petitioners led by Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. said the government should give serious, urgent, and immediate attention to Ivermectin as an inexpensive drug to prevent and treat Covid-19 amid the public health crisis in the country.

The group also asked Duterte to order the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to pro-actively look into the credible testimonials of a substantial number of Filipinos, including well-known members of Philippine society, and on the studies of several local and foreign medical researchers on the efficacy and safety of Ivermectin in preventing and treating COVID-19 cases.

The proponents also asked the administration to issue authority for the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug, which other countries have been using to treat the virus.

“Likewise, we respectfully ask Congress to pass the appropriate legislation or resolution to expedite the availability of and easy access to Ivermectin by the masses of our people,” the petitioners added.

“We are in a severe public health emergency. Our people are dying in big numbers on a daily basis and our hospitals can no longer accommodate those who are getting sick of the virus. The number of cases is growing bigger and bigger. Our people are desperate for a preventive and curative drug against covid-19,” they added.

The proponents maintained there are well-founded reasons to believe that Ivermectin can be used to prevent and treat Covid-19 cases based on widespread testimonials and studies made on the drug.

They cited the statement of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Philippines) which showed that 22 percent of the world is already using Ivermectin to fight Covid-19.

CDC Philippines is an advocate for the use of Ivermectin as a preventive and curative drug against Covid-19.

“Multiple studies and meta-analyses confirm the effectiveness of Ivermectin, a safe oral drug used for over 40 years for other illnesses in humans,” CDC Philippines said in a statement.

In India, South Africa and many Latin American countries, Ivermectin is widely used as a Covid-19 drug, CDC Philippines added.

The group noted that the Ivermectin is cheaper compared to the Remdesivir, the current drug being used to treat COVID-19- infected patients, which costs at least P28,000 per vial and must be administered twice daily until the patient is discharged.

“This drug is beyond the means of the average Filipino, most especially the poor,” the group said.

The petitioners maintained that Ivermectin costs only around P35 and has been sold over-the-counter for 40 years.

“Ivermectin is generally administered daily for three days, which means a person only needs to spend a little over P100 for the entire treatment. The preventive dose is only once every two weeks,” the proponents added.

The group said that with the sufficient vaccine supply against Covid-19 still forthcoming, the present health crisis calls for urgent and decisive action by the government to provide a low-cost preventive and curative drug easily accessible to our people.

“We strongly believe that many more Filipinos, especially the poor, can be saved from Covid-19 infection and death if Ivermectin is made immediately available to our people as prescribed by medical doctors without further delay and threats of administrative and criminal sanctions,” they stressed.

The group said that while FDA has declared that it can issue compassionate special permit for the use of human grade repurposed Ivermectin, ‘the procedures are cumbersome and not conducive to a wider use of the drug, not to mention the fee that has to be paid by patient or institution which is more than the cost of the drug itself”.

“With the immediate availability of Ivermectin in the country, the health of the Filipinos will be protected and promoted, and the economy of the country will be restored and enhanced. Dear leaders of our country, we appeal to you, please act on our request,” the petitioners noted.

Among the signatories of the petition are Jose Luis U. Yulo Jr., President, Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; Atty. Rico V. Domingo, President, Philippine Bar Association; Atty. Ferdinand A. Nague, President, Maritime Law Association of the Philippines Inc.; Atty. Joey Lina, Former Senator, President, Sagot Kita Bayan; Amb. Benedicto V. Yujuico, President, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry: Dr. Jesus Lim Arranza, Chairman, Federation of Philippine Industries Inc.; Mr. Alberto D. Lina, President, Federation of Philippine Industries Inc.; Fernando L. Martinez, Phd, President, PCCI Pasig City; Cory Quirino, Chairman, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption; Nelson Celis; President, Philippine Computer Society Fellow, Center for People Empowerment in Governance; Dr. Benigno A. Agbayani Jr. MD, FPOA, President, Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines; Greg Atienza, Executive Director, SOULPh; Ofelia Odilao-Bisnar SVP, ICMA UP Chapter, Trustee, Food for Hungry Minds Inc. Treasurer (past Chair) AAAIM; Leonardo Q. Montemayor Jr., Board Chairman, Federation of Free Farmers; Antonio Sarmiento Jr., President, Philippine Federation of Pest Management Operators Associations Inc.; and Luis Marcos Laurel, President, Class 1986 Ateneo Law School.

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