THE BUREAU of Customs intercepted thousands of regulated drugs, including the currently controversial ivermectin, which were undeclared in a shipment coming from India.

In a statement on Thursday, the bureau said the Customs examiner at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport found the regulated drugs “concealed in the inner portion of the subject shipment and covered by other declared regulated items.”

The shipment, imported by Finstad, Inc. from New Delhi, was declared as “Food Supplements, Multivitamins and Multi-Mineral Capsules,” according to the bureau.

Among the confiscated items were 20,000 capsules of ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug authorized for animal use in the Philippines but is being promoted by some politicians and medical practitioners as a preventive or treatment medicine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Food and Drug Administration Director Jesusa Joyce N. Cirunay of the Center for Drug Regulation and Research has informed the Customs bureau that ivermectin “is under compassionate use in Specialized Institutions authorized by FDA through the issuance of Compassionate Special permit.”

It’s importation, she added, should come with a license to operate as a drug importer and a product registration certificate

The FDA has so far given only six hospitals special permit for the  use of ivermectin, FDA Director General Rolando Enrique D. Domingo told an online forum on Wednesday. — with a report from Vann Marlo M. Villegas