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Wait for FDA approval: Wes Gatchalian warns public vs abusive ivermectin sellers

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By Billy Begas

Deputy Speaker and Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian has warned the public from abusive online sellers peddling Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

While online e-commerce sites like Lazada have clearly classified Ivermectin as a veterinary drug, Gatchalian said there may be unscrupulous individuals who will use the leniency of these online sites that make the drug easily accessible, to prey on the public especially now when word has spread that Ivermectin may be used as a cure for COVID-19.

“Please be on the lookout for abusive online sellers who are taking advantage of the current situation and even manipulating the price of Ivermectin,” Gatchalian said.

He said the public should wait for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue compassionate special permit for Ivermectin before using it to treat COVID-19 patients.

Ivermectin has been registered and approved by the FDA as an anti-parasitic drug for use in animals.

Gatchalian also urged Lazada and other e-commerce companies to tighten their regulation on medicines and other drugs being sold in their platforms.

“For one, the prices of these should never exceed the suggested retail price. Second, they should ban sellers who market drugs to be utilized for other than their recommended function” he said.

Gatchalian has been pushing for the passage of the proposed Internet Transactions Act (ITA), which will mandate online platforms to exercise due diligence in the onboarding of sellers to protect consumers, and curb the prevalence of scams and other fraudulent and deceptive practices.

Under the proposal, e-commerce platforms shall be held solidary liable with online merchants if the consumer suffers damage as a direct result of the transaction.

An e-commerce platform will also be held liable if it fails, after notice, to expeditiously remove or disable access to goods or services appearing on its platform that it knows, or should know, to be not compliant with the law.

“During these times when people are under a pandemic and relying heavily on online transactions, an enabling law that will impose stricter rules and regulations on the medium to avoid consumers from falling prey to these unscrupulous individuals is all the more needed,” the solon added.