[Question] Should I advocate for people to not buy Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 in the Philippines for now?

Hey all, I’m from the Philippines, and there’s a huge debate currently in mainstream Philippine media on whether Ivermectin is an effective treatment for COVID-19 or not. And I’m wondering if I should advocate for people to not buy Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 in the Philippines for now. I also want to know if I should be advocating for the Philippine FDA to continue banning its use (or to approve its use). If anyone here has knowledge on Ivermectin, or has spent a bit of time looking at the evidence about it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

For context, “Some doctors in the Philippines and abroad, as well as a number of lawmakers, urged the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to hasten the process of approving Ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment in the country.”

The Philippine FDA has not even approved Ivermectin for use by humans, and yet there are local doctors who prescribe it to patients. Some people find ways to procure it (and they may even be unintentionally procuring fake Ivermectin products sold by scammers). And yet, I’ve heard of some people in my network who are are thinking of buying it or have already bought it for themselves.

Currently, I sense that the majority of Filipinos are skeptical, and they think that there isn’t good evidence for Ivermectin as an effective treatment for COVID-19. This statement, released by a group of multiple reputable health associations in the Philippines, does not recommend the use of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, and they cite what seem to be reputable studies (randomized control trials, though they may be small ~100-person samples) showing that Ivermectin has no statistically significant effect vs. control groups in treating mild or moderate cases of COVID-19. Meanwhile, “the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe stressed on Tuesday, March 30, the need for “carefully controlled and planned” clinical trials of the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin before it could be used to treat COVID-19 in the country.”

I want to form better beliefs myself from the available evidence and figure out if I should be telling people in my network to not buy Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. I’m leaning on doing that already, but am open to hearing others’ views here on LessWrong.

I also want advice generally on how one can form better beliefs about effective medical treatments. Based on reading Rob Bensinger’s COVID-19 Overview on LessWrong and doing some of my own research, I think Zinc and Vitamin D3 should be taken by people with mild to moderate cases as a treatment for COVID-19. But I’ve seen some conflicting articles/​studies/​RCTs/​meta-analyses out there on Zinc and Vitamin D3, with some saying there’s a statistically significant effect on treating COVID-19 and some saying there’s none, so I’m not sure what to do about my view in light of those evidence. Any thoughts on the effectiveness of Zinc and Vitamin D3, or how to form beliefs based on medical studies /​ journal articles, would be helpful. Thanks!

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