Just like 97-year old former senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III revealed he is also taking the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin once every two weeks to protect him from Covid-19.

But doctors of former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada refused to give him Ivermectin, asserting it is only for animals.

Former senator Jinggoy Estrada on April 19  said there was a discussion among siblings if they should administer Ivermectin.

“The doctors said, ‘I will not give ivermectin to your dad because that is only for animals,'” said the former senator. 

Instead, the doctors gave the former president, who turned 84 on Monday, Leronlimab. an investigational product which is still undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of Cancer, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and COVID-19. 

While Sotto did not mention when he started taking the drug, Sotto said he’s taking  it in his own to avoid getting infected with COVID-19. He also said the Ivermectin  he’s taking is for human consumption.

The Senate leader believes Ivermectin can help fight Covid-19 despite warnings from health experts that it can damage the brain, lungs and liver and can be fatal.

The World Health Organization and the US-FDA  have yet to approve the use of Ivermectin, which was developed by Merck to treat worms and other parasites in animals. It is currently on its third clinical trials in 73 countries. 

WHO, US-FDA, European Medicine Agency and even Ivermectin manufacturer, Merck, all said there is lack of data and evidence on its efficacy and benefits for COVID-19 prevention and treatment.

There have been posts  on social media promoting ivermectin as an anti-COVID-19 drug in Brazil, France, South Africa, and South Korea.

The Philippines has issued compassionate use permit to two unidentified hospitals for the use ivermectin to treat their Covid-19 patients.

A compassionate use permit only allows legal administration of the drug in the country but is not an endorsement of its safety and efficacy from the FDA.

According to Sotto, “I know somebody who was hit by Covid, took Ivermectin for three days. On the fourth day, fifth day, all the symptoms were gone. Waited for just 14 days before the patient was checked again and was already negative.” Sotto said he also knows many people in the same situation.

Due to inadequate vaccine supplies, Sotto called on the national government to focus on prevention.

Sotto  further hopes that the Department of Health and FDA should study if Ivermectin, just like virgin coconut oil (VCO), can be used to treat Covid-19.

Sotto said he also read testimonies that VCO is good in addressing COVID-19 just by rubbing it on the nose.

He also warned those selling a capsule of the drug for PHP250 from its regular price of PHP35.00.