The IFP wants to categorically state that it is not against the use of any existing medication or new vaccines that could cure Covid-19 and save lives. However, it is against the use of any medication or vaccine that has not been approved, registered and recommended for human consumption by the relevant drug manufacturing and testing companies and laboratories, and by government.
The IFP takes note of a recent petition signed by close to 100 South African healthcare professionals, appealing to President Cyril Ramaphosa to set up an urgent special council to conduct a rapid review of the antiparasitic drug, ivermectin.
While the IFP supports research into alternative solutions for slowing down or preventing the spread of Covid-19, South Africans must be made aware of the dangers related to any misuse of ivermectin, which has made headlines of late, and is claimed to cure Covid-19.
There is currently no cure for Covid-19 and people must not be misled.
A recent paper, Ivermectin for Covid-19: Promising but not yet conclusive, published in the South African Medical Journal, stated that “The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) recently issued an announcement in response to public media releases, unequivocally stating that ivermectin is not indicated or approved by SAHPRA for use in humans, but that it encourages and supports all well-designed, ethically approved scientific studies.” It further stated that “Advocacy groups should continue to lobby for timeous and appropriate access to COVID-19 interventions that have supporting evidence of efficacy and safety.” It also cautioned that “while awaiting data from clinical trials in SA or abroad, the public as well as healthcare professionals should support the governing processes already in place”.
The IFP would therefore like to call on health authorities to do more to educate people – especially those in rural areas – about the use of ivermectin, which is currently not registered for human use in South Africa. As it has now been labelled as a possible ‘cure’ for Covid-19, and combined with the anxiety, panic and stress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it could be easy for people to be manipulated by those who wish to profit from the sale of ivermectin.
The onus rests with Health Authorities to dispel any misinformation about ivermectin and to educate people about what ivermectin really is, and the risks associated with human consumption. Failure to prevent the incorrect use of ivermectin is nothing short of a recipe for disaster. Many could get sick, and government will have to intervene once again in saving lives. This will add an additional burden upon the already strained healthcare system and workers, currently battling Covid-19.
The IFP urges government to target those selling of ivermectin on the black market. Further, we urge people not to buy any unapproved medicines claimed to ‘cure’ Covid-19.
Lastly, farmers must be advised not sell ivermectin to anyone. If they are approached, they must urgently report such people to the police.
Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana, MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson for Health,
078 302 3991