TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - University of Indonesia (UI) epidemiologist Pandu Riono on Friday gave his views about the latest public frenzy surrounding antiparasitic drug Ivermectin. He regrets the distribution of the strong prescription drug as a Covid-19 treatment, which he says is against the rules and could potentially endanger people.
“What disappoints me is that the medicine is being handed out like candies by a group of people, even public officials, which is unethical and not within their authorization,” said Pandu Riono in the press conference with the Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency (BPOM) on July 2.
He insisted that the safety of the antiparasitic drug in relation to treating the coronavirus had yet to be 100 percent confirmed, and that the sudden surge of coverage throughout mainstream and social media platforms had not helped the situation.
Prior to his statement, BPOM Head Penny Lukito reported that the agency raided Ivermectin producer, PT Harsen, and found that the company committed numerous violations which led to the company’s closure.
Harsen, according to the agency, was found to have utilized raw materials obtained from unofficial routes in the production of Ivermectin. The company also produced and marketed the medicine by ignoring existing regulations.
Their distribution utilized unofficial media, which included promoting the strong drug directly to the public instead of professional healthcare workers and doctors. “They should have known better to follow existing regulations,” said Lukito.
However, PT Harsen Laboratories marketing director, Riyo Kristian Utomo, did not see it as such and accused the BPOM of intimidation.
“BPOM must stop intimidating us, we provide the weapon against COVID. Don’t let there be intentional attempts to make us lose. We must win against COVID. No one should stop us from doing so,” said Utomo.