Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 4) The company behind the drug ivermectin says there is no basis in using it as a treatment for COVID-19.
In a statement on Sunday, Merck said analysis has shown that there is “no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies; no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease; and a concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies.”
“We do not believe that the data available support the safety and efficacy of ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information,” it added.
Merck’s statement comes after experts warned against using ivermectin, saying there was not enough proof the anti-parasitic drug could be used against the virus.
“There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of ivermectin for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 infection,” the Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases or PSMID said in its Philippine COVID-19 Living Recommendations published last week.
Citing a study, Dr. Edsel Salvana of the Department of Health’s Technical Advisory Group previously said ivermectin is generally safe but at certain doses “required for possible antiviral activity, it can cause brain damage.”
Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the World Health Organization’s representative to the Philippines, has advised against the use of ivermectin for COVID-19 prevention or treatment, adding further studies are needed to determine if it works against the coronavirus.
The DOH also holds the belief there is insufficient basis to allow the use of ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19.
The FDA earlier warned the public not to take ivermectin, saying taking animal drugs can cause harm.
Meanwhile, infectious diseases expert Dr. Benjamin Co told CNN Philippines there are ongoing clinical trials to prove the effectiveness of ivermectin among humans, especially in treating COVID-19 patients.
He said while proof was still lacking, the drug could have potential.

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