MMA and pharmacists’ group decry black market sales of Ivermectin in Malaysia as dangerous to public health

Amrahi and Dr Subramaniam explained that Ivermectin is a Group B poison which has not been registered in Malaysia for use in Covid-19 treatment or prevention in humans. — Reuters pic
Amrahi and Dr Subramaniam explained that Ivermectin is a Group B poison which has not been registered in Malaysia for use in Covid-19 treatment or prevention in humans. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — The Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) and the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) have urged those engaging in the illegal sale of the drug Ivermectin to cease their activities immediately, as it could negatively impact the country’s health.

MPS president Amrahi Buang and MMA president Prof Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said they found the illegal, widespread sale of Ivermectin “appalling and concerning”, as Malaysians go to great lengths to obtain the drug that many claim can prevent Covid-19 infections.

“Over the past few weeks, several raids were conducted by Pharmacy Enforcement Branches from all over Malaysia and resulted in illegal Ivermectin being confiscated.

“This matter was made worse when certain politicians in Parliament and the Consumer Association of Penang were pushing the use of this drug for prophylaxis against Covid-19 infections, despite the questionable quality of the evidence,” they said in a joint statement.

Amrahi and Dr Subramaniam explained that Ivermectin is a Group B poison which has not been registered in Malaysia for use in Covid-19 treatment or prevention in humans.

“It has only been approved for off-label use for clinical trials at 12 hospitals in Malaysia. Therefore, Ivermectin cannot be prescribed by any doctor or compounded and dispensed by any pharmacists other than in the approved indication as per the Health Ministry’s directive.

“If an individual is caught selling ivermectin for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19, they can be fined between RM25,000 to RM50,000,” they said.

Although both acknowledged that since the start of the pandemic, observational and randomised studies have evaluated Ivermectin as a treatment for, and as prophylaxis against, the Covid-19 infection, there is only low-certainty evidence that the drug reduces Covid-19.

“It is imperative that the public understands that uncontrolled usage of Ivermectin can cause side effects that may be damaging.

“We encourage Malaysians to trust the Covid-19 vaccines which have already shown its effect in reducing the infection rate and mortality, such as the case for Labuan Federal Territory recently,” Amrahi and Dr Subramaniam said.

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