Horse owners battling to find ivermectin stock amid scramble for controversial Covid-19 treatment
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Cape Town – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organisation have both warned against the use of Ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19, and the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) has cautioned against black market sales.
However, with Americans scrambling to acquire the drug despite the FDA’s stance, horse owners, who use equine ivermectin to deworm their animals, are battling to get their hands on stock of the antiparasitic treatment, The Washington Post reported.
Cindy Greely, who owns horses in northern Wisconsin, told The Washington Post that stores appear to be limiting the amount of ivermectin that customers can buy, or they are completely out of stock, with prices more than doubling.
Last month, News Channel 5 reported that a Las Vegas feed store said it was sold out of the drug. It blamed the shortage on people purchasing it as an unsafe Covid-19 treatment.
Since early July 2021, outpatient ivermectin dispensing has begun to rapidly increase, reaching more than 88 000 prescriptions in the week ending August 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. This represents a 24-fold increase from the pre-pandemic baseline.
After regulators in South Africa allowed the importation of ivermectin and a ’’compassionate use programme’’ in limited circumstances, the drug — in tablet form — is being imported and sold out of the back of cars at pharmacies and at doctors’ offices, the NPO National Public Radio reported last week.
Dr EV Rapiti’s Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, waiting room is full of Covid-19 patients. In an office behind the waiting room, there are empty boxes labelled "ivermectin" underneath desks.
Rapiti is treating dozens of patients a day with it. Mohammed Noor said he could hardly breathe when he first came to the clinic, but after Rapiti gave him more ivermectin, he got better.
While researchers wait for for the results of clinical trials, Rapiti said in a neighbourhood full of people desperate for treatment, sending them home to get worse or die is inhumane. Rapiti has treated more than 600 patients who came in with Covid-19 pneumonia.