By Teddy Cambosa

The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) must fast-track the clinical trials on the use of the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin, according to Rep. Mike Defensor of the Anakalusugan Party-list.

According to Defensor, Ivermectin will provide a cheaper alternative for poor Covid-19 patients, who cannot afford the expensive Remdesivir and Tocilizumab medicines, while noting that the original price of Remdesivir ranged from PHP1,950 to PHP6,200 a vial.

“Lives are at stake here. We could save many lives with the use of this popular PHP35-per-tablet experimental drug. The results of the trials ordered by President Duterte should be available soon,” Defensor said in a statement.

He added, “The poor can afford a P35 drug. In the case of its two other rivals, they cost thousands, if one can find them in the market.”

Defensor’s statement comes after the opposition of DOST to conduct trials for ivermectin, and the contrasting statement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the Philippines to use Ivermectin as an ‘investigational product’.

“Can the DOH and FDA allow the use of Ivermectin? Yes, they can, if they want to. In fact, the FDA is allowing it on a patient-to-patient basis. Why not permit its use on a wider scale so it would be available to more patients, especially the poor,” Defensor added.

Teddy Cambosa is a graduating BS Biology student and a former campus journalist at Batangas State University.