KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — A three-judge panel in the Court of Appeal today unanimously decided that doctors have the right to dispense Ivermectin to patients under Malaysian laws.
The ruling effectively overturned the High Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, which had asked if doctors can dispense Ivermectin.
Lawyer Abraham Au said the three appellate court judges — Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah — were in favour of the two doctors who had filed the suit.
“The Court agreed with us that the present case is not to recognise Ivermectin as an alternative remedy for the treatment of Covid-19, but to acknowledge the right of medical practitioners in exercising their professional judgment to dispense Group B Poisons, which invariably includes Ivermectin, to their patients.
“The Court of Appeal also ruled that there is no collateral attack for the doctors to seek these reliefs in court for an affirmation of this pre-existing right,” the lawyer said in a statement to Malay Mail this afternoon, referring to the judgment that was read out by Justice Abu Bakar earlier today. In the suit, the two doctors had asked the High Court to answer two questions about the dispensation of Ivermectin to patients.
“The Court of Appeal ultimately answered the questions we posed in the following manner: (1) Whether a registered medical practitioner is entitled to dispense Ivermectin as an ingredient to his or her patient under the Poisons Act 1952 read together with the Poison Regulations 1952? Answer: Yes.
“(2) Whether a registered medical practitioner can dispense Ivermectin to his or her patients for the purposes of the medical treatment of such patient only and in compliance with section 19 of the Poisons Act 1952 and the Poison Regulations 1952? Answer: Yes,” Au said.
Au said the Court of Appeal allowed the two doctors’ appeal and ordered the Federal government and the Health Ministry to pay costs of RM30,000 to the two doctors.
Au’s statement was made on behalf of the Malaysian Association for the Advancement of Functional and Interdisciplinary Medicine (Maafim), and its legal team led by Datuk Gurdial Singh Nijar.
Au was part of Maafim’s legal team together with another lawyer Lim Sze Han.
On September 21, 2021, Dr Vijaendreh Subramaniam as Maafim chairman and Dr Che Amir Farid Che Isahak filed an originating summons against the government and the Health Ministry.
The duo had asked the High Court to answer or determine the two questions, and to interpret provisions of the Poisons Act and the Poisons Regulations, and to also give any appropriate declarations to give effect to the determination of those two questions and the interpretation of those laws.
On March 24, 2022, High Court judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid dismissed the lawsuit filed by the two doctors with costs of RM5,000.
In his judgment dated August 30, 2022, the High Court judge viewed the lawsuit as baseless and an abuse of court process, ruling that the lawsuit was to seek for the court to make a “new health policy” on Ivermectin contrary to the regulatory framework and government policy and without expert scientific evidence.
In his ruling, Ahmad Kamal said it is not the court’s role to decide policy issues in the field of scientific and technical expertise especially in the rapidly evolving circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He noted the use and effect of Ivermectin was still pending further clinical research from the World Health Organisation (WHO) with no assurance that Ivermectin could be used to cure Covid-19, and said it would defy the interest of justice to legitimise the use and dispensation of Ivermectin by registered medical professionals.
He also said it is within the jurisdiction of the legislative and executive branches of the government to make declarations on whether it is legitimate to use Ivermectin on humans, and that it would not be within the court’s powers to do so.
He said the suit had the effect of a collateral attack by pre-empting and interfering with an ongoing criminal investigation against one of the doctors over the dispensing or selling of Ivermectin.
The Health Ministry had in August 2021 said the Malaysia National Poison Centre had received reports of two cases of acute poisoning from consumption of Ivermectin with symptoms including breathing difficulties, and said the drug had yet to be approved to prevent or treat Covid-19 in Malaysia and that incorrect dosages could cause poisoning.
In November 2021, the Health Ministry said its clinical trial on Ivermectin in a study involving 500 Covid-19 patients — and carried out since May that same year – did not significantly reduce the effects of severe Covid-19 infection and could not be recommended to treat Covid-19, and said doctors should not recommend or sell Ivermectin for treatment of Covid-19.
The Health Ministry’s study’s principal investigator had in November 2021 also said Ivermectin is not a miracle drug for Covid-19.