THE Zimbabwe College of Public Health Physicians (ZCPHP) yesterday added its voice in calling for the total ban of controversial prescriptions and use of the veterinary drug, Ivermectin, which is reportedly being used by unscrupulous practitioners for COVID-19 treatment and prevention.
Its call follows widespread claims that the drug, which is licensed for veterinary use only, is now being prescribed by some medical personnel for treatment of COVID-19.
In a statement yesterday, the ZCPHP president Pamela Magande said the drug was not in the COVID-19 treatment guidelines, adding that it was worrying that it was being found on the formal and informal markets.
“We have reviewed the current scientific evidence and international guidelines on the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 prophylaxis and treatment. Our conclusion is that while there were a number of studies of differing quality and relevance to this issue, there is no sufficient evidence to support its use,” Magande said in her appeal to other regulatory bodies to also step up and put an end to the practice which is widely being touted as treatment for the coronavirus on various social media platforms.
“We appeal to the regulatory authorities, the Ministry of Health, the Medical and Dental Practitioners, the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) and the Pharmacist Council of Zimbabwe to immediately act in the interest of public safety and stop forthwith the prescription and use of Ivermectin for treatment and prevention of COVID-19,” she said.
This is not the first drug that has been linked to COVID-19 treatment.
The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine also became popular after some medical practitioners claimed it could treat COVID-19.
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June last year cautioned against the practice.
The FDA statement said: “Based on ongoing analysis and emerging scientific data, FDA has revoked the emergency use authorisation to use hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 in certain hospitalised patients when a clinical trial is unavailable or participation is not feasible.