House probe sought on DOH, FDA policies for Covid-19 drugs

House probe sought on DOH, FDA policies for Covid-19 drugs

MANILA – Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has filed a resolution calling for a congressional inquiry into the policies and guidelines of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the registration, utilization, manufacture, distribution or sale of drug products for coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Velasco, along with Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera, filed on Wednesday House Resolution 1711 asking the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability to look into the policies of the DOH and FDA for the registration, use, manufacture, distribution or sale of medications for Covid-19, particularly those that appear to be “detrimental to public interest”.

“While there is no actual cure for COVID-19, health, drug and medical experts have come up with a treatment protocol including the administration of certain drugs and therapeutics currently allowed for use and treatment of COVID-19,” Velasco and Herrera said in the resolution.

They particularly cited DOH Department Memorandum No. 2020-0138, which adopts clinical practice guidelines on Covid-19; and FDA Circular No. 2020-12, which provides for the guidelines for the registration of drug products under emergency use for Covid-19.

They said the FDA Circular and other related guidelines have been questioned for being “arbitrary, bureaucratic, and inhumane for causing unnecessary delays in the approval and clearance of drugs and therapeutics for emergency use authorization or for use of drugs under compassionate special permit against the dreaded Covid-19 disease.”

The resolution was filed amid debates on the use of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin for treating and preventing Covid-19.

FDA Director General Eric Domingo has clarified that the distribution of Ivermectin remains illegal even though the medicine was granted a compassionate special permit.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Domingo noted that Ivermectin is an “investigational product” and clinical trials on its use to prevent Covid-19 are ongoing.

The DOH earlier warned that the distribution and promotion of Ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus in humans is a violation of the law.

The FDA also earlier approved Ivermectin only for animal use to prevent heartworm disease and treat parasite infestation and not for treatment of Covid-19. Filane Mikee Cervantes / PNA –