Parallels between drug Ivermectin and illegal tobacco trade


Alex Rose-Innes


THE drug Ivermectin which had made huge inroads into the black market as treatment for COVID-19 shows uncanny parallels with the illegal cigarette trade.

The drug which is used to treat parasites in animal are touted by scientists without unsubstantiated proof of its use in humans as vaccine for the pandemic as vaccines are running out across the globe due to high demand.

A businessman from KwaZulu-Natal had been nabbed at OR Tambo International at the beginning of this year with thousands of Ivermectin tablets.

As health professionals, lobby groups and personal testimonials flood social media endorsing its use, demand had spiked in full violation of its legal status. The SA Health Products Authority (Sahpra), the regulatory authority of medication and clinical trials in the country, remained steadfast that Ivermectin was not legalised for human consumption and only authorised for use in animals. More conclusive evidence would be required to approve its use to treat Covid-19 patients.

Additionally, co-chairpersons of the ministerial advisory committee on COVID-19, world-renowned virologist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim and Professor Marian Jacobs advised Health Minister Zweli Mkhize against the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 patients. “Until more robust evidence is available, the use of Ivermectin for either the prevention or treatment of Covid-19 is not justified, they said in the latest statement.

As a way of controlling the supply chain, better border control, secure tracking and tracing of medication, had been called for as a real fear existed that “opportunists could swoop in with fakes to make quick money not caring about who it hurts and this is something we’re already seeing around the world.”


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