A doctor from the Philippines is defending the use of ivermectin for preventing and treating Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) infection despite attempts by the country’s regulatory authorities to restrict its use. In an interview with Philippine television station ABS-CBN, orthopedic surgeon and President of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines, Dr. Benigno Agbayani cited 80 clinical studies that show the anti-parasitic drug is 89 percent effective at preventing infection and 80 percent effective at treating COVID-19.
“I think I’ve read more than anyone on COVID-19,” he said when questioned on his medical credentials. According to him, he spends several hours almost every day reading scientific literature pertaining to the coronavirus. Among the topics he has read the most about is the use of ivermectin against COVID-19.
Agbayani claims to have already prescribed the anti-parasitic drug to over 300 of his own patients with tremendous success. But he did not talk about his own patients during the interview. Instead, he highlighted the success rate reported by many studies, which, according to him, is what his recommendations are based on. (Related: FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug ivermectin can kill the coronavirus within 48 hours, reports new study.)
“As much as anecdotal [pieces of evidence] are good – and we have many – I really prefer that we stick to the science,” said Agbayani. “People are trying to scare us from taking ivermectin. It’s one of the safest drugs in the world.”
“You have over 26 – as of today [April 11] – randomized controlled trials showing effectiveness, even as high as 89 percent for prevention, and as high as 80 percent for treatment,” explained Agbayani. “So, I think regardless of what the other groups are doing, you have so much science behind it, I do not see why we have to be so concerned.”
As an example, Agbayani mentioned a Sept. 2020 study that found ivermectin can block the receptor sites of the virus on human cells. This can effectively prevent the virus from ever getting inside the cell.
Agbayani continued by saying there are over 80 clinical studies that examined ivermectin’s effectiveness against COVID-19. He believes these studies “should be enough proof” of ivermectin’s abilities. He continues to promote ivermectin both as a prophylactic and a treatment for people who test positive for COVID-19.
Philippine congressman Mike Defensor wants to provide his constituents with free ivermectin. Unfortunately for him, the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not share Agbayani’s enthusiasm for using ivermectin. The congressman has resorted to threatening legal action to allow the drug to be distributed as medicine for COVID-19. According to Rep. Defensor, his planned distribution of ivermectin is legally compliant.
“I will fight them in court,” he said in a press briefing when asked if he would bow to pressure from the FDA. “If they will again stop this initiative, I will fight them in court. Because legally, we are compliant.”
Defensor’s plan involves providing people with forms which will then be given to the doctors who will prescribe ivermectin. Once the prescription has been filled, it will be collected and sent to the licensed compounding laboratory.
The congressman claims it was the FDA itself that said licensed compounding pharmacies and laboratories are allowed to compound ivermectin as long as it has been prescribed by a doctor.
“On two occasions during the hearings, they have said that this process is allowed,” said Defensor. “If they will stop this again and those who need it will not be given the drug, I will fight them in court.”
The country’s FDA and the Department of Health (DOH) are trying to make it more difficult for people to get ivermectin.
On Tuesday, April 27, FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said that those who’ll be receiving ivermectin need to be first checked by doctors and given proper prescriptions. The following day, DOH Undersecretary Ma Rosario Vergeire added that only hospitals who have been granted “compassionate special permits” will be allowed to prescribe ivermectin because the drug has not been registered with the FDA for human use in the country.
For the latest updates regarding effective coronavirus medications, visit Pandemic.news.