Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Rolando Enrique Domingo admitted on Wednesday there has been “pressure” to approve the use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin.

Director-General Rolando Enrique Domingo

“Of course there is pressure but we at the FDA approve applications based on merit and when they (pharmaceutical companies) complete their requirements,” Domingo said during the Laging Handa media briefing.

The FDA issued a hospital a compassionate special permit (CSP) for the medicine last week. Domingo said other hospitals could also apply for a CSP as a measure of last resort.

Former Health secretary and Iloilo First District Rep. Janette Garin has warned that the FDA and the Department of Health could be liable for granting a hospital CSP contrary to the regulations of the agency.

Domingo stressed that the efficacy of ivermectin against Covid-19 should be subjected to strict clinical trials.

He advised the public not to be too eager to use the drug as 98 percent of Covid-19 patients recover without any medical interventions.

“We should wait for the results of these well-designed trials to determine how this drug affects this disease. If the clinical trials prove that it could be effective against the virus, then the FDA will add ivermectin into the country’s treatment protocol for Covid-19.”

Meanwhile, the FDA said that the use of anti-asthmatic drug budesonide is allowed as long as it is recommended by a pulmonologist.

A study in the United Kingdom has shown that the drug can hasten the recovery of Covid-19 patients by three days.