TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said there is nothing wrong with trying to use Ivermectin as a therapeutic drug for Covid-19. Luhut said he had asked SOE Minister Erick Thohir to distribute Ivermectin for Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms.
"I told Mr. Erick, 'just send it for [patients] with light symptoms, there will be no victims because of that," Luhut as quoted from Deddy Corbuzier's podcast on YouTube, Tuesday, July 6.
Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms Luhut referred to are those who do not experience trouble breathing, have oxygen saturation above 95 percent, and have no dangerous comorbidities. At least, said Luhut, the drug can lower risks of severity.
"I spoke with Doctor Fatimah, the head of an SOE hospital, and we have proven that it is good. It works, so, just go for it. This is an emergency. As long as it is for the good of the people and there is solid evidence, why not?" Luhut said. "Now, Erick has made a patent. What's wrong with that?"
Yesterday, SOE Minister Erick Thohir instructed state-owned pharmaceutical companies, Indofarma and Kimia Farma, to immediately distribute Ivermectin as a Covid-19 therapeutic drug. Erick gave the instruction following the drug's escalating price hike.
"Today's market prices are hurting people's amid the high demand and the high numbers of Covid-19 patients dying every day. Therefore, I have ordered Kimia Farma to immediately market Ivermectin at prices according to the Health Ministry's and BPOM regulations, and [for the drug] to be made available only with a doctor's prescription," Erick said in a written statement yesterday.
Right now, Ivermectin is available gradually from Kimia Farma and other drugmakers. The Highest Retail Price (HET) is capped at Rp7,885 per tablet, taxes included.
On Monday, June 28, BPOM gave Ivermectin its Implementation Approval for Clinical Trials (PPUK) for use as a Covid-19 drug. Clinical trials will be conducted in ten Jakarta hospitals for three months, by giving it to patients for 5 days, with monitoring starting on day 28 after the drug is administered.
Penny asked the public to be patient and wait for the clinical trials' results for sake of public safety. Meanwhile, a number of officials continue to promote Ivermectin as a Covid-19 therapeutic drug.