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Senate leader eyes hearing on ivermectin

THE SENATE might conduct a hearing on the use of anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as potential treatment for coronavirus.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, who admitted that he takes ivermectin every two weeks, said those who want to use the drug should be allowed to do so.

“Ang sinasabi ko, yung gustong gumamit, hayaang gumamit (What I am saying is, those who want to use it, let them use it),” he told an online briefing.

Ivermectin is authorized by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for animal use.

The FDA recently issued a so-called Compassionate Special Permit for its use as treatment for coronavirus patients, but only to six hospitals.

Mr. Sotto, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino, cited that there are many other “food and drugs” that do not go through the FDA but have long been used by “people worldwide.”

He questioned why there is a sudden heated debate over the drug, noting that some doctors recommend its use.

FDA and Department of Health officials as well as various groups of medical practitioners have said that there is no conclusive scientific evidence indicating ivermectin’s efficacy against the coronavirus.

Mr. Sotto said he might be “tempted” to deliver a privilege speech on the matter within the first or second week after Congress sessions resume on May 17.

“Maganda niyan magkaroon tayo ng hearing tungkol diyan (It would be good that we have a hearing on that),” he said. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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