Pharmacy chain warns public against using anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin for Covid-19

An illustration photo shows pills in Brussels, Belgium, August 9, 2019. — Reuters pic
An illustration photo shows pills in Brussels, Belgium, August 9, 2019. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — A major pharmacy chain has warned the public today against taking the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin, following wild claims by its proponents on its effect towards Covid-19.

Alpro Pharmacy Group, which touts itself as the biggest prescription pharmacy chain in the country, said that at present, the drug is not approved for human usage in Malaysia, and is only limited and available for use on animals and pets.

“Its usage on the human body may cause negative effects as the dosage for animal use and human use varies significantly,” said the group’s chief pharmacist and director of engagement Lim En Ni in a statement.

She said that using Ivermectin as self-medication may lead to serious health complications and overdose, with potential health effects including allergic reactions, dizziness, seizures, coma, and even death.

“The misinformation being spread on this matter across online public forums and social media platforms is alarming.

“We would strongly advise the public to always only refer to verified sources of information like the Health Ministry or the World Health Organisation (WHO) for information regarding Covid-19 treatments, Ivermectin or any other medications or drugs,” Lim said.

“Alpro strongly advocates for medication safety and it urges the public to seek the professional advice of a pharmacist or a medical practitioner when dealing with any form of uncommon medication or drugs,” she added.

On May 16, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the use of Ivermectin has not been approved by the ministry, due to a lack of scientific studies to prove its efficacy.

Both the ministry and its Institute for Clinical Research commenced clinical trials early this month to study Ivermectin’s effects and effectiveness in treating high-risk Covid-19 patients at 12 government hospitals.

Last Wednesday, a clinic in KL was raided by the ministry for supplying Ivermectin to its patients and claiming that it may prevent Covid-19.

No worldwide health body has approved the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 or as preventive measures, and countries which have previously allowed it like India have since retracted their decisions.

In Malaysia, the drug is being pushed among others by those opposed to the vaccines, alternative medicine practitioners, and some Muslim groups.

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