Go pushes further studies on Ivermectin as possible COVID-19 treatment

Go pushes further studies on Ivermectin as possible COVID-19 treatment

Sen. Bong Go (Featured Image)

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher “Bong” Go called on the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Health, and other concerned authorities to conduct more open dialogues with health advocates and medical experts on potential COVID-19 medications and treatments.

In particular, he asked health officials to facilitate a thorough scientific study and consult local and international medical experts on the possible uses, side effects, and risks of Ivermectin as a potential medication for treating COVID-19.

“Marami pong nagsasabi na makakatulong ang gamot na ito laban sa COVID-19. Hayaan po natin ang mga eksperto at doktor na pag-aralan ito ng mabuti. Sila ang makapagsasabi kung ligtas at epektibo talaga ito,” he said.

“Ang sa ‘kin lang, maging bukas ang ating isipan sa mga ganitong mga suhestyon galing sa pribadong sektor at mga health advocates. Ang laban kontra COVID-19 ay hindi lang laban ng gobyerno kundi laban ng buong sambayanan — ng buong mundo. Pakinggan natin ang mga gusto tumulong,” he added.

Go clarified that he is not advocating for the use of Ivermectin or any specific drug but is simply urging the government to have an open dialogue with proponents and facilitate a thorough scientific study of these proposals.

“Ang importante dito ay maging mas proactive tayo. Huwag natin pahirapan yung mga nais tumulong. Kung sasabihin ng eksperto na masama ito base sa siyensya at sa pag-aaral nila, at least klaro sa publiko kung bakit bawal ito gamitin sa tao,” he explained.

“Pero kung may posibilidad na makakatulong ito, huwag natin ipagkait sa taumbayan ang benepisyo na pwede nilang makuha mula sa ganitong pag-aaral ng gamot. Pare-pareho naman tayo ng gusto — ang makapagligtas ng buhay ng mga may sakit,” he added.

Meanwhile, Go urged proponents of Ivermectin and other drugs to follow the prescribed process of the government in approving and regulating such medicines before they can be prescribed to patients. He emphasized that these rules and regulations are in place to protect the welfare of the public.

“Sabi naman po ng FDA na pwede mag-apply ang mga doktor ng Compassionate Special Permit para dito. May proseso naman ang FDA. Sundin natin ang nasa batas dahil kapakanan naman ng lahat ang pinoprotektahan natin. Nais nating masigurong ligtas at epektibo ang mga gamot na ito bago gamitin,” Go said.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go also called on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to conduct more open dialogues with medical experts, scientists and other health advocates to promote a constructive exchange of ideas and come up with more science-based recommendations in overcoming the pandemic.

“Marami pong mahuhusay na mga scientists at doktor sa bansa. Bigyan natin sila ng oportunidad na makatulong. May boses sila sa gobyernong ito. Kahit ang Pangulo, sinisigurado palagi na base sa siyensya at tamang pag-aaral ang mga desisyon na dapat ipatupad,” Go stressed.

Go further enjoined the IATF to form a special committee on COVID-19 investigational drugs which shall be tasked to provide recommendations based on the drugs’ acceptability, effectiveness, and safety.

In the meantime, Go urged the DOH and government communicators to take a more proactive role in providing relevant information to the public on the nature, effectiveness, and safety of such medications and treatments.

“Sa mga kababayan ko, makinig tayo at magtiwala sa ating mga otoridad. Nag-iingat lang po ang gobyerno dahil ayaw nating may gamot na kakalat sa publiko tapos may masamang epekto pala,” Go explained.

“Huwag nating isugal ang ating kalusugan sa mga gamot na hindi aprubado. Antayin natin na masigurong ligtas at epektibo ang mga ito,” he added.

During a hearing held by the House Committee on Health on Thursday, March 30, FDA Director Rolando Domingo said FDA will welcome any application to register Ivermectin in the Philippines if it should receive one. There are currently no pending applications.

“If the product is for COVID-19, pinaprioritize namin. Kapag nagkaroon ng application then we will process it quickly … We will talk by next week with the manufacturers to see ano ‘yung mabilis na way para makapagrehistro ng produkto,” said Domingo.

The FDA also noted that any physician seeking to use Ivermectin to treat symptoms of COVID-19 is required to apply for a Compassionate Special Permit before the FDA. However, as of writing, the FDA has yet to receive an application for CSP.

Go further reminded government officials to adopt an open mindset in line with the Duterte Administration’s Whole-of-Nation approach in dealing with the ongoing crisis.

“To our officials, let us be more inclusive and open to suggestions from various stakeholders. We cannot overcome this alone. Kaya nga po bayanihan ang isinisigaw natin noong simula palang. Bigyan natin ng oportunidad ang lahat na tumulong para mas mabilis natin malampasan ang krisis na ito,” he said. (AI/MTVN)

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