Is that a prescription? Piece of paper given away with ivermectin under scrutiny

April 29, 2021 - 7:10 PM
Photo of the prescription and the Ivermectin handed to patients in Quezon City on April 29, 2021 (The STAR/Boy Santos)

The supposed medical prescription being given away with ivermectin was placed under scrutiny, citing lack of important details.

Two lawmakers distributed the anti-parasitic drug for free to the residents of a barangay in Quezon City on Thursday.

Based on reports, doctors were present during the event called “Ivermectin Pan-three” in reference to the community pantries that sprouted in some parts of the country.

Patients need to consult with the doctors first and sign a request form before they can avail the capsules.

Photos of the activity immediately circulated online, prompting some concerned Filipinos, especially doctors, to question its legality.

READ: 2 lawmakers distribute ivermectin despite caveats, prohibitions

Some health workers, meanwhile, criticized the prescription issued to the patients, which were also captured in photos as patients held them up as proofs.

TikTok content creator Arshie Larga, also a pharmacist, cited the name of the pharmacist, the license number and the pharmacist’s signature as among the details missing from the prescription.

“Reseta ba yan? Nasaan yung name ng prescriber? PRC license number? Prescriber’s signature??? Also, for protection?” Larga said.

In another tweet, he created a short TikTok video about how to tell if a prescription is “valid.”

Larga detailed that a doctor’s prescription should contain four parts, namely, the patient, the medicine prescribed and the person who prescribed it.

He also stated in the clip that pharmacists are not trained to learn the handwriting of doctors.

“Kaming mga pharmacists po, ang pinag-aaralan po namin ay mga gamot. At wala po kaming subject kung saan tinuturo kung pano basahin ang sulat ng isang doctor,” Larga said in the video.

Similarly, physician @pauloMDtweets also shared side-by-side photos of a slide about the parts of a prescription and the one being handed to ivermectin receivers.

“Parts of a Prescription. Triggered ako as a Pharmacist. Bakit walang name, signature at PRC number nung Licensed Physician? At bakit sa PLAIN bond paper lang nilagay?” he said.

The doctor also tagged the account of the Philippine Pharmacists Association in the tweet.

“Dear PPhA anong say niyo dito? @PhilPharmacists Kayo na bahala mag compare nung prescriptions,” he added.

Another doctor likewise questioned why there was no name of the physician in the prescription.

“What happened to ‘Primum Non Nocere’ and Accountability?” the user wrote.

Dr. Gene Nisperos also addressed the waiver or the request form patients were asked to fill out during the consultation for ivermectin.

“How many doctors do you know asks for a waiver before they give you a prescription, then do not write their name, license number, and signature on the prescription? Walang lehitimong doktor na gumagawa ng lehitimong bagay ang ganyan,” Nisperos said.

The distribution of any health product that is not registered with the Food and Drug Administration is prohibited under Republic Act 9711 FDA Act of 2009. 

However, in a message to reporters on the same day, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that it is “subject to a further determination” if Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta (Sagip party-list) and Rep. Michael Defensor (Anakalusugan party-list) could be liable to any violation.

“I wouldn’t really blame Reps. Defensor and Marcoleta if they would proceed but as I said, this is subject to a further determination if there is legal basis for the exemption. So I leave it to them,” Guevarra said.