Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Philippines to set up $440K ivermectin trial



Philippines to set up $440K ivermectin trial

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Philippine trials for ivermectin start on September 16. PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

Philippines to set up $440K ivermectin trial

The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DoST) on September 1 said it would push through with its taxpayer-paid clinical trial on the controversial drug ivermectin, adding to the more than 800 studies that are being or have already been undertaken.

Dr Jaime Montoya, executive director of the DoST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, said the trial sites were already identified and funds were already transferred to the University of the Philippines Manila-Philippine General Hospital, which will conduct the study for eight months.

Montoya said the start of the trials was delayed because the methodology was changed upon the advice of the international ivermectin clinical trials consortium.

He did not identify which organisations were behind the international consortium, but Secretary of Science and Technology Fortunato de la Pena said earlier that the research team would be headed by British pharmacologist Andrew Hill.

In July, Hill already came out with a glowing assessment of 24 trials of ivermectin. Later, he withdrew the report for revision after the review of other scientists.

But according to the pro-ivermectin website, c19early.com, which also did not identify its organiser, there were 876 ongoing studies on the use of ivermectin for Covid-19. None of the studies were approved or endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In fact, the WHO has issued a global warning against the use of ivermectin outside of clinical trials, which are usually organised and funded by the drug’s manufacturer.

But even ivermectin maker, Merck Sharp and Dohme – which reported profits of $48 billion in 2020 from its animal health products – issued its own warning in February that “our analysis has identified – no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19 from preclinical 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,” the drug company added.

Former Secretary of Health Dr Esperanza Cabral has questioned the government’s willingness to fund a clinical trial for ivermectin, which some politicians and doctors have been pushing as a treatment for Covid-19.

“It is not the government that should be spending 22 million pesos [$440,000] in order to prove or [disprove] that this particular substance works,” Cabral stressed.

The budget was higher than those allotted for clinical trials on a possible adjuvant treatment for Covid-19, including one for melatonin and virgin coconut oil [9.8 million pesos each], and herbal plants “tawa-tawa” and “lagundi” [around five million pesos each].

Physician Minguita Padilla, co-convener of Doctors for Truth, also questioned the DoST’s insistence on the clinical trial when hundreds are already underway and its use in India did not prevent the emergence of the Delta variant.

“Given the terrible surge in India, driven partly by its double-mutation variant, isn’t the fact that ivermectin has been a staple of Covid treatment in India since last year among the best arguments against its effectiveness against Covid-19?” Padilla said in May.

PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Cambodia's poverty cut in half from 2009 to 2019: World Bank report

    A report published by the World Bank on November 28 states that Cambodia’s national poverty rate fell by almost half between 2009 and 2019, but the Covid-19 pandemic recently reversed some of the poverty reduction progress. Cambodia’s poverty rate dropped from 33.8 to 17.8 per cent over the 10