Ivermectin sales boost on black market while authorities say it’s no good scientifically
Share this article:
Cape Town - Ivermectin sales on the black market are on the increase and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) and the Western Cape Department of Health have warned against back-door sales.
The Weekend Argus spoke to salespersons, doctors and experts about this controversial topic relating to this anti-parasitic drug.
A Mitchells Plain ivermectin dealer, who did not want to be named, said that the drug had saved his entire family and that sales had increased in the last three months.
He said that he purchased his stock from a reputable supplier.
“One box has 100 tablets, if he buys 10 tablets it’s R200. Fifteen tablets are R150, if you buy the box, it’s R100 per 10 tablets making it a R1000 for the box,” he said.
“We had Covid and we were told to use vitamins and when we started using ivermectin it drastically changed everything, it opened up the chest and took the mucous away. Within four to five days, all of us were better and on the seventh day when we had ourselves tested again and we were cleared of Covid.”
He said his supplier could not be identified but assured that it was a reputable company that distributed other medication.
“The sales have been good. The word has spread about ivermectin, I have been selling it for three months and sales have gone up by 20%.”
Dr EV Rapiti, who has been a clinical doctor for more than 30 years, recently took his plight to radio, speaking about his use of ivermectin together with other medication as part of his treatment against the Delta variant.
He has documented his successes helping hundreds of patients with Covid-19 pneumonia.
“I am basing this on a call I got from a desperate lady whose brother was on oxygen at one of our teaching hospitals, they were not keen to give her brother the famous ivermectin tablets and the remark that was made and the comment that the doctor made was that, people believed in ivermectin belonged to another planet,” he said.
“To that doctor and many of these doctors working at academic institutions, in this country in particular, then I am one of those doctors who belongs on one of those planets because the planet I live on helps to save people.
“I believe with this drug, I have saved many people, for the record I have treated over 100 Covid pneumonia patients, I got just about all of them well. Some of my worst cases were 60% oxygen. But with my modularity, treatment and oxygen, I managed to get them better and this is a sore point for me when academic institutions adopt this attitude of knowing everything and being the gods of society.
“We are in a pandemic and no one is an expert, no matter how many degrees you own, how smart you or what department you are in or how many distinctions you hold, the true test of your capabilities is the outcome of your patients.
“I know many of you argue, that there is not enough evidence, I am a clinician, a family doctor and I base my results on does it save my patients from dying and does it make them better?
“Those who are still asking for more evidence are truly living in a dark world. Medicine and science is wide, it is not confined to laboratory and computers and research but it is about observations. This is unlike the previous strain, we are not treating a flu here, we are treating a virus. This virus has to be killed by antivirals like ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine and fluoxetine.”
Sahpra’s Yuven Gounden said they were sticking to their regulations, that the drug could only be administered to a patient with a prescription.
“Only ivermectin approved under the ivermectin Controlled Compassionate Use Program may be dispensed on the basis of a named patient Section 21 authorisation. No one should prescribe it unless they have obtained such authorisation from Sahpra.
“Sahpra advises that illicit use or advertisement of ivermectin for treatment of Covid-19 be reported to its regulatory compliance unit,” he said.
Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, chief executive of Sahpra, said earlier this year that there was insufficient scientific evidence on the use of ivermectin for the pandemic.
“On the efficacy of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19. We wish to assure the public that Sahpra has been and will continue to monitor emerging data regarding the use of ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19. Sahpra has received no application for the registration of an ivermectin-containing medicine for Covid-19,” Semete-Makokotlela said.
Dr Keith Cloete, head of the Western Cape Health Department, said there was not enough scientific evidence to support the use of the drug.
“The available scientific evidence does not support the use of ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug, for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19 outside the context of clinical trials, according to a new report from Cochrane, an international organisation that reviews medical research and provides guidance about clinical practice,” he said.