SAHPRA: We ensured controlled access to Ivermectin to treat COVID-19

Despite this, lobby group AfriForum - joined by a general practitioner on behalf of his patients - approached the North Gauteng High Court to allow its use.

FILE: A health worker shows a box containing a bottle of Ivermectin, a medicine authorized by the National Institute for Food and Drug Surveillance (INVIMA) to treat patients with mild, asymptomatic or suspicious COVID-19, as part of a study of the Center for Paediatric Infectious Diseases Studies, in Cali, Colombia, on July 21, 2020. Picture: Luis Robayo/ AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) on Wednesday said it did not buckle under pressure when allowing the use of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19.

Despite this, lobby group AfriForum - joined by a general practitioner on behalf of his patients - approached the North Gauteng High Court to allow its use.

The court ruled in favour of the application on Tuesday, declaring a GP may apply to the body in order to prescribe the medication.

The health products regulatory body said officials had several meetings with the scientific and medical community to explore the options for controlled, monitored access to Ivermectin.

This led to the rollout of its controlled compassionate use mechanism for the anti-parasitic drug announced last week.

The body's CEO Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela said: “I think it was just a coincidence that when we received this court application, we were then, at the same time, also preparing to communicate to the public about this compassionate use programme.”

Professor Helen Rees said more specific trial data on the efficacy of Ivermectin was expected from next month.

“By April, we are anticipating that we will have data from a number of different studies on an extra 10,000 people.
Our data at the moment is only on just over 2,000. It will help us understand if there is a benefit.”

The regulator said Tuesday’s court ruling confirms mechanisms around the use of the drug are necessary.

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