The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) does not see a need to do a clinical trial on the use of Ivermectin for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.
In a statement posted on DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña’s Facebook page on Friday night, he said clinical trials require a minimum of six months and could extend to years.
Citing clinicaltrials.gov as the source, de la Peña said there are almost 20 completed and 40 ongoing clinical trials exploring the use of Ivermectin formulations against Covid-19 globally.
With this, he said the PCHRD “is of the position that there is no need to conduct another clinical trial in the Philippines”.
“It would be appropriate to await the results of these studies that are already significantly advanced in terms of data collection and conducting interim analyses,” the DOST chief said.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the registered Ivermectin products in the country for human use are in topical formulations under prescription use only. This is used for the treatment of external parasites such as head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea.
“Any use of Ivermectin veterinary products for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19 should be avoided as the benefits and safety for this purpose has not been established.
Data from clinical trials are necessary to determine whether Ivermectin is safe and effective in treating or preventing Covid-19,” the FDA said in an advisory posted on its website.
The FDA recently granted a compassionate special permit for a hospital’s use of Ivermectin in treating Covid-19 patients.
FDA Director General Eric Domingo said Ivermectin is an “investigational product”, and that its distribution remains illegal.
The hospital which was granted the compassionate permit would be allowed to import Ivermectin via a licensed importer, he said.