Reitumetse Makwea
Digital Intern
2 minute read
5 Feb 2021
12:38 pm

‘No evidence our drug works against Covid’, says Ivermectin manufacturer

Reitumetse Makwea

The South African Health Products Regulations Authority recently announced that it would allow controlled use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19, following pressure from medical professionals and AfriForum.

Picture: Hospital Nacional Hipólito Unanue

In a statement, American pharmaceutical company Merck says their studies have shown that Ivermectin does not work as a treatment for Covid-19.

“It is important to note that, to date, our analysis has identified no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19 from pre-clinical studies, no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with Covid-19 disease, and a concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies,” the statement read.

Merck’s spokesperson Patrick Ryan said that Ivermectin was only approved in the US under the brand name Stromectol and indicated that the medication could only be used for the treatment of intestinal roundworms.

“Ivermectin is approved in the United States under the brand name Stromectol. It is indicated for the treatment of intestinal [i.e, non-disseminated] strongyloidiasis due to the nematode parasite strongyloides stercoralis and for the treatment of onchocerciasis due to the nematode parasite onchocerca volvulus,” said Ryan.

Ryan lamented that they did not believe that the data available supported the safety and usefulness of Ivermectin beyond the doses and populations indicated in the regulatory agency-approved prescribing information.

ALSO READ: SA doctors buy into Ivermectin hype, despite warnings, risks

Ryan also said Ivermectin could cause harm if administered to a hypersensitive patient.

“Stromectol [Ivermectin] is contraindicated in patients who are hypersensitive to any component of this product,” said Ryan.

This after the South African Health Products Regulations Authority (SAHPRA) announced that it would allow a controlled, compassionate use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19, following pressure from medical professionals and AfriForum for the regulatory body to authorise the medication that was previously marketed for veterinary use in the country.

Court gives go ahead on Ivermectin

The Department of Health and some health professionals have raised concerns over the safety of Ivermectin for human use, as well as the legal consequences for doctors who choose to administer the drug.

However, some studies have highlighted the benefits of using Ivermectin in the management of Covid-19, but there is still insufficient evidence on its efficacy.

The Pretoria High Court also ruled that doctors could begin the treatment without having to wait for the outcome of a Section 21 application from SAHPRA.

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