MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has called on the Department of Health (DOH) to inform the public which medicines could be used by COVID-19 patients, as the country faces a surge in infections that required the reimposition of hard lockdowns.
According to Velasco, DOH and the Food and Drug Administration should look into the safety of drugs marketed as effective against the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, such as Ivermectin.
“As the numbers of COVID-19 infections continue to rise, we urge the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration to promptly inform the public of their options in terms of prevention and treatment against this deadly virus,” Velasco said in a statement on Friday.
“With coronavirus cases surging and more people dying, regulators should find it necessary to look into the safety and efficacy of Ivermectin and other repurposed drugs for COVID-19,” he added.
Velasco said that this would be important in reducing the number of cases that the country has seen over the last few weeks — especially given that some patients have sought alternative treatments due to the influx of patients in hospitals and the fact that many healthcare facilities are already at capacity.
“People have become desperate for a cure. Fast-tracking clinical trials and processes to either grant Ivermectin an emergency use authority or conclusively declaring it unsafe will put the matter to rest,” the Speaker said.
“These are desperate times that call for a more proactive regulatory approach. People need alternative remedies to prevent or treat COVID-19,” he noted.
Several observers and officials, including Vice President Leni Robredo, have recently challenged the DOH’s data on COVID-19 bed occupancy in isolation wards and intensive care units (ICU).
Robredo claimed that her office had received reports of patients dying while waiting in ambulances, emergency rooms, or temporary tents outside hospitals. She also said that the troubling condition had compelled other COVID-19 patients to search out more costly home-based treatment solutions.
READ: Robredo: Data on vacant COVID-19 hospital beds far from reality on the ground
READ: Robredo asks DOH again: If hospitals aren’t full, why are COVID-19 patients lining up?
The surge of cases has forced the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infections Diseases (IATF) to place Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status, to prevent COVID-19 transmissions from spilling over to other areas.
As of Friday, the country has recorded over 153,000 active cases, with DOH tallying another record-breaking increase in new cases with 15,310.
READ: New record-high: PH logs 15,310 new COVID-19 cases
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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
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