2 local pharma firms eye manufacture of Ivermectin

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    Two local pharmaceutical companies, Lloyd Laboratories Inc.  and Pascual Laboratories Inc. , have expressed willingness to manufacture Ivermectin,  an anti-parasitic drug that is undergoing trials for the possible treatment of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

    But this is if only the Department of Health (DOH) will include the drug in the treatment plan against COVID-19, according to Jeremiah Belgica, director-general of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA).

    Once given approval, Belgica expects the price of the medicine to be below P30 to P40.

    Belgica said in a press conference  officials of ARTA and of the DOH will meet today to tackle the possibility of including   Ivermectin in the treatment protocol against COVID-19.

    But in his meeting with officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday,  Belgica said he was told  no company has yet to formally apply for the emergency use authorization (EUA) nor Compassionate Special Permit for Ivermectin for use in humans.

    He said in the past, some laboratories were compounding Ivermectin for doctors — not manufacturing for commercial use — but these were stopped by health authorities.

    Belgica said once Lloyd and Pascual  present all the requirements to FDA, EUA approval can be issued in as short as 7 days and no longer than 20 days, based on the agency’s Citizen’s Charter.

    Belgica said ARTA stepped into the matter to enable companies interested to manufacture the drug skirt the long process without compromising the technical process required for the approval.

    He added ARTA has formed a task force that ensures procurement, donations and logistics related to the fight against COVID-19 are unhampered.

    “We want to make sure there is no deliberate attempt wittingly or by negligence to delay (these) as we face a national emergency. ARTA can investigate and even file cases against (government officials) who delay the permitting process,” he added.