Hardly a month after the South African Health Product Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) warned the public against the use of the Ivermecton drug, about 100 health professionals signed a petition requesting President Cyril Ramaphosa to review the ban. The Sahpra said Ivermection is currently not registered for human use in the country.
The doctors are requesting president Ramaphosa to set up an urgent special council with a view to conducting an urgent review of the anti-parasitic drug that some healthcare professionals have been dispensing as treatment to Covid-19.
The petition was accompanied by a passionate letter penned by a Durban-based Dr. Naseeba Kathrada. The healthcare professionals argue for the authorisation of the Ivermectin, saying this is necessary to enable the country to cope with the second wave of the coronavirus which is increasing daily infections resulting in the public health care facilities being overwhelmed.
Dr Kathrada claims several studies have already been conducted and a new data is emerging daily showing the promise of Ivermectin. “Your committee can review all this data which is readily and easily available”, adding they are by no means calling Ivermectin a “miracle drug” but that it is a safe drug.
“You, Honourable President have the authority to set up an urgent special council to do a thorough and rapid review of Ivermectin. Just the announcement of such a council will bring some hope back to families who have infected loved ones,” said Dr. Kathrada.
He said the frontline workers will be motivated if they know that president Ramaphosa trust them to “uphold the oath ‘first do no harm’ by giving us this potent anti-inflammatory drug to add to our seemingly defenceless fight against this new strain”.
Dr Kathrada further stressed that they “appreciate the need for a body like SAHPRA” but that the body is not enjoying the support and confidence of “lay people and healthcare workers alike at this point”. He said there is no time to follow the Sahpra’s strict requirements, saying “asking for doctors to apply for a section 21 per patient while some of us are seeing over 60 Covid-19 positive cases per day is nothing short of ridiculous”.
“Give us the freedom of choice to take this drug as prophylaxis so that we have a better chance to be around when the vaccine arrives to help roll that out…Arm us with this safe drug so that we know that we are doing everything possible to save our patients lives,” implored Dr Kathrada.