Lobby group AfriForum is considering legal action over the banning of the use of Ivermectin as a treatment against Covid-19.
This is despite the fact that the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has repeatedly advised against the use of the parasiticide for either prophylaxis or treatment of Covid-19.
In a statement, AfriForum’s head of research, Barend Uys, said: “The simple reality is that many citizens are currently turning to livestock drugs without the guidance of medical practitioners for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19.
“It is irrational to approve the use of a vaccine that has been developed within months and at the same time ban the use of a drug that has been proven safe and has been in use for four decades.”
AfriForum insisted that investigations regarding studies that have already been conducted globally on the use of Ivermectin be carried out as soon as possible, to confirm if this drug can be used effectively in the prevention and treatment of the virus.
“In so doing, this drug that is widely available and affordable can perhaps be safely prescribed to treat Covid-19. A large range of studies in various countries show that Ivermectin can possibly be effective in the treatment of Covid-19.
SAHPRA said, however, that studies conducted around Ivermectin were too negligible to determine its efficacy.
“There is no confirmatory data on Ivermectin available as yet for its use in the management of Covid-19 infections. In terms of safety and efficacy, there is no evidence to support the use of Ivermectin and we do not have any clinical trial evidence to justify its use,” said SAHPRA.
To determine the efficacy of a drug, a large number of people are required, something that concerned SAHPRA when it comes to Ivermectin.
According to the Essential Medicines List, a Covid-19 sub-committee review on the overall quality of the randomised trials involving Ivermectin in Covid‐19 patients did not pass muster.
Uys was adamant though. “Farmers have been using Ivermectin as a livestock product for many years and it is immediately available in their medicine cabinets.”
“If a safe drug is available that can possibly restrict the intensity of the pandemic and can help to relieve symptoms and suffering as well as reduce the number of deaths. It can be used in the interim until vaccines are available,” he added.