Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (MNS Photo)

MANILA, Apr 30 (Mabuhay) — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must investigate reports of “token” prescription during the distribution of ivermectin in Quezon City, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Friday.

Duque was reacting to reports that doctors who joined Representatives Rodante Marcoleta and Mike Defensor’s distribution of ivermectin wrote their prescriptions on a piece of paper and not on a prescription pad.

“Kung totoo man yon na nakalagay sa isang tissue or bond paper lang, so part of what the FDA needs to do is investigate such reports. The accountability is clear it is the doctor who prescribed it who will answer for his action,” Duque said.

Duque said under the law, all prescription must contain specific details such as the name of the prescriber, address, professional registration number, and tax receipt number.

The prescription should also contain patient’s name, age, sex and date of prescription, among others.

“Dapat sundin ito, hindi puwedeng token prescription lang [They should follow the standards. They cannot issue token prescriptions],” he said.

While he suggested the investigation of the manner of prescribing ivermectin, Duque said there is nothing illegal with the distribution if it falls within the two exemptions set by the FDA.

The two exemptions are the issuance of compassionate special permit to specific hospitals, and the said drug should be prescribed by a doctor and was compounded by a duly licensed pharmacist.

“With all those conditions in mind, I don’t think there’s anything illegal on the actions but I don’t know the whole story. I don’t know the details of the dispensation and prescription, and how it is done,” Duque said.

“This would have to be looked into by the field investigating agents of FDA.”

Duque also admitted that he was “alarmed and concerned” on the said distribution but he said they need to rely on evidence and a validated report on it.

For now, the DOH chief advised the patients to call FDA should they experience any adverse effects after taking ivermectin.

On Thursday, Marcoleta and Defensor, along with Concerned Doctors and Citizens PH (CDC-PH), distributed ivermectin to residents of Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City.

FDA director general Eric Domingo earlier said the distribution must have doctors “who will check the patients and prescribe medicines that will be dispensed properly.”

Meanwhile, the Quezon City Health Department (CHD) on Thursday called on the FDA and the DOH to make a clear stand on the safety and general use of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said they have yet to determine whether the exemptions set by the FDA on the use of ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment has sound legal basis, following the plan of two congressmen to distribute the anti-parasitic drug.

To date, the agency has allowed five hospitals the use of the drug for COVID-19 patients.

However, the FDA, the Department of Health (DOH), and the World Health Organization have said there is no sufficient evidence yet that support ivermectin as an effective COVID-19 treatment.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered a clinical trial for ivermectin in the Philippines. It is expected to start by the end of May, according to the Department of Science and Technology. (MNS)

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