MoH may use Pofma to clamp down on websites promoting ivermectin as a Covid-19 cure, says Singapore minister

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said MoH is considering the possible use of Singapore's anti-fake news law to clamp down on websites promoting the use of anti-parasite drug ivermectin to treat Covid-19. ― Picture via Facebook
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said MoH is considering the possible use of Singapore's anti-fake news law to clamp down on websites promoting the use of anti-parasite drug ivermectin to treat Covid-19. ― Picture via Facebook

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SINGAPORE, Oct 21 — The Ministry of Health (MoH) is looking into the possibility of using the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) to clamp down on websites that promote the use of anti-parasite drug ivermectin as a remedy against Covid-19.

Responding to a media question during an update on the Covid-19 situation yesterday (October 20), Health Minister Ong Ye Kung reiterated that ivermectin is not a suitable treatment for the disease.

Ong was asked why the government has not yet used Pofma on the websites encouraging people to take ivermectin as a cure for Covid-19.

“We are certainly looking into it,” said Ong in response. “In MoH, the medical professionals are very clear that ivermectin is not suitable for the treatment of Covid.”

He added: “Whatever has been used in the lab to kill the Covid virus is at a dosage that is too high for humans to use safely.”

Ong’s comments come after ICA foiled five attempts to illegally import the drug into Singapore between Sept 10 and Oct 6, seizing more than 23,000 ivermectin tablets.

TODAY reported in September that some Singaporeans have been buying ivermectin online to treat Covid-19, identifying three Telegram groups that had people buying or consolidating orders for the drug.

Earlier this month, a 65-year-old woman was hospitalised after taking ivermectin.

In the wake of the woman’s hospitalisation, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) issued a statement on its website to state that ivermectin is not an antiviral medicine and is not approved for use to prevent or treat Covid-19.

Self-medicating with the drug can be dangerous, with side effects that include vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain and liver injury (hepatitis). Ivermectin can also interact with other medications such as blood-thinners, HSA said. ― TODAY

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