Leaving a Legacy by C. de los Angeles
I watched today as our House of Representatives conducted an Motu Proprio inquiry, in aid of legislation, on alleged questionable guidelines of the DOH and FDA that hamper Public Health Service delivery to us, Filipinos.
Among the many things that caught my interest was the discussion brought up by Congressman Mike Defensor of ANAK Kalusugan Partylist. His discussion focused around two particular drugs which is Remdesivir and Ivermectin, which he is suggesting we use based on several medical studies and doctor’s endorsements.
Remdesivir is not endorsed by the WHO for treatment on COVID19 in fact they explicitly say “they recommend against the use of Remdesivir in COVID-19 patients.” Again they DO NOT RECOMMEND ITS USE regardless of disease severity. Yet our wonderful DOH and FDA has recommend their use and it is part of the current protocol in the treatment in the Philippines.
Congressman Mike Defensor started his presentation by showing various receipts paid by patients as well as the actual costs of the drug. Filipinos at hospitals were being charged 12,000-20,000 per shot of Remdesivir while the actual cost was around 1,000-3,000 pesos which is a felonous profit especially during this pandemic where the economy is suffering and people are barely making a living.
Later he moved on to Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic which has been around for decades and proven safe for humans, which lately has been acknowledged by various medical doctors around the world as effective in the fight against COVID-19. Yet, the FDA and DOH is hampering the procurement as well the creation of the medicine locally. Through the persistent prodding of the good congressman the FDA said they are doing all they can and have authorized clinical trials to be done.
The Reality is we are at WAR both literally and figuratively. We do not have the luxury of time as people’s lives are at stake. We could have easily just given the medicine to those infected with their consent and see if it works. Even the professor of those in the FDA and DOH was ashamed that people leading these government agencies were her former students and are so backward in their thinking especially now during this global crisis.
When the congressman asked why the need for the clinical trials for ivermectin they citied the WHO has not approved the drug. Actually, the WHO is still studying it the verdict is not final as compared to Remdesivir which the WHO was very clear they are against it. Remdesivir did not need to go to clinical trials and it is part of the recommended treatment and as you can see from the price the profit margin is incredible, better than “tubong lugaw” Yet, Ivermectin which costs only 30 pesos they meaning, the DOH and FDA, are trying to prevent us from accessing or even producing locally. I wonder why?
Ridiculous, how the FDA and DOH cite the WHO when it suits them and how they ignore it when it fits in their interest. They did the same thing with testing early part of the pandemic. They delayed rapid antibody test kits citing the WHO even though numerous countries were effectively using it even China. In fact, recent RITM studies show that some brands of antibody rapid test kits are close to 100% in detecting COVID 19 starting on day 7 from infection. This is could be crucial for mass testing earlier on the pandemic to quickly identify and isolate covid 19 infected patients.
I first heard about Ivermectin in February from my uncles and aunts in the US who are medical doctors. They suggested we take it here while waiting for the vaccine as a form of prevention. I quickly suggested it to a political candidate, telling them you will be the covid hero, make a public call to the DOH for it be further studied and saying “if Ivermectin works, the country can go back to normal by tomorrow.” However, they did not follow my suggested idea. A few weeks later I came across a news article about how Congressman Mike Defensor is already giving away Ivermectin to Quezon City Residents. That is a bold and brave idea and I believe a future Presidential-able in elections to come. In times like this we need decisive leaders who can make educated decisions given lacking information. There is no time to keep on planning. Try and see if it works if not change. We need action and leaders with conviction. Congressman Mike Defensor embodies that and I wish him well as he continues to fight for the Filipino People.