MELAKA: The state government has cautioned villagers from trusting “snake oil salesmen” trying to peddle the anti-parasite drug Ivermectin by claiming that it can prevent Covid-19.
State Rural Development, Flood Management and Green Technology Committee chairman Datuk Seri Idris Haron said villagers should not trust attempts to promote the drug on social media by these self-proclaimed "pharmacists".
“Suddenly, there are online medical experts taking advantage of gullible villagers during this vulnerable period by claiming Ivermectin is an effective treatment for Covid-19. It’s wrong to claim that Ivermectin is a panacea for the disease without the endorsement of the Health Ministry, ” he said.
Idris said in an interview on Friday (June 11) that villagers should lodge police reports on the allegations that the drug was being sold for RM200 for a box of 10 tablets.
“Let the pharmacy enforcement division investigate this and those who are promoting this drug, ” he said.
Idris said the usage of Ivermectin for public and Covid-19 patients should be approved by the Ministry.
Ivermectin has been used for decades to treat head lice and river blindness in humans and heartworms in animals.
The drug first emerged in regards to Covid-19 treatment on April 3 last year when laboratory experiments done by researchers at Monash University of Australia found that Ivermectin in vitro had an inhibitory action on SARS-CoV-2, reducing the load of viral RNA by 5, 000 times in 48 hours.
On June 5, the ministry and the Institute for Clinical Research started clinical trials to study the use and efficacy of Ivermectin for high-risk Covid-19 patients at 12 hospitals.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Ivermectin was a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved anti-parasitic drug, widely used for treating several neglected tropical diseases, including onchocerciasis, strongyloidiasis and helminthiasis.
However, he said the evidence was inconclusive to recommend routine use of Ivermectin for Covid-19 patients.
Dr Noor Hisham said the FDA has not approved Ivermectin for use in treating or preventing Covid-19 in humans and the World Health Organisation only recommends it in a clinical trial setting.