ANAKALUSUGAN party-list Rep. Mike Defensor on Friday urged the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to conduct the clinical trials ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte on the use of ivermectin to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COViD-19) cases “with a sense of urgency.”
“The trials should be done as expeditiously as possible. Time is of the essence, because we could save lives with the use of this inexpensive wonder drug,” Defensor said.
Defensor said the DOH and the DOST should not wait until next year to come out with trial results.
“If the administration achieves its goal of attaining herd immunity in the National Capital Region Plus area this year by vaccinating at least 58 million Filipinos, the DOH and DOST would just have wasted precious funds with their studies on the use of ivermectin on COVID-19 patients,” Defensor said.
“As our elders would say, ‘Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo’,” Defensor added.
Defensor pointed out that the ivermectin trials might be useful if the results are out before the end of this year.
“We could still save many lives with the use of this cheap experimental drug. Poor patients can afford it. It costs only P35 per tablet. That’s what makes it appealing,” Defensor stressed.
He chided the DOH for promoting and even procuring the more expensive COVID-19 experimental drugs while cracking down on the use of ivermectin.
He said remdesivir, which the DOH recently procured, costs from P11,000 to P48,000 per vial in private hospitals.
“Ivermectin and remdesivir are both investigational drugs. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not encourage their use, and yet the DOH is promoting one while clamping down on the other,” he said.
Defensor said he could not understand why the DOH obviously has a bias for costly COVID-19 medicines.
“They continue to spend billions to buy remdesivir, whose cost is borne ultimately by taxpayers, by PhilHealth and by desperate private citizens who try to save the lives of their sick loved ones,” he added.