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Debate over ‘unproven’ worm drug lingers

2021-06-22  Staff Reporter

Debate over ‘unproven’ worm drug lingers
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The Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council (NMRC) registrar of medicines, Johannes Gaeseb, has reiterated the council’s stance that it has not received an application for the use of Ivermectin-related medicines supported by sufficient scientific evidence to advocate its use in preventing or treating Covid-19.

He also cautioned healthcare providers that the prescription of substances remains within
the safety limits of the substance and that prescribers take personal responsibility for any adverse consequences resulting from the treatment by use of any compounded medicine.    

Demand for approval of the drug, commonly used to treat parasites in animals and head lice in humans, is growing globally – with some countries recommending Ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus patients – despite NMRC warning against its use. 

Gaeseb said unlicensed import, compounding and manufacturing of medicines remain unlawful, along with the unlicensed import of unapproved substances.

He said until new evidence is available, the council maintains its position not to recommend the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19, as there is currently insufficient evidence in support of Ivermectin use to treat Covid-19.

“The council will continue to monitor emerging data as it published and may review its position accordingly,” he said.

He further implored healthcare providers to stay within the health ministry approved treatment guidelines and preventative protocols, including the taking of vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) reported that the Medical Association of Namibia (MAN) has warned that the distribution and prescribing of the Ivermectin medication for the consumption of human beings is illegal in Namibia, and urged all pharmacies to stop distributing it immediately.

MAN chairman Dr Armid Azadeh said this
in a media statement issued on Saturday, saying that it has come to the association’s attention that there are certain pharmacies in the country that are selling and distributing Ivermectin medication to members of the public, who
believe that the medicine can be used to treat Covid-19.

“The distribution of this product is regarded as illegal at this time. We, therefore, request all pharmacies practising this to cease further distribution,” said Azadeh.

Also, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula last week dismissed a request to grant permission to local medical practitioners to use Ivermectin on Covid-19 patients after 30 doctors petitioned the minister.

2021-06-22  Staff Reporter

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