PETALING JAYA: Several Opposition MPs in Parliament pushed for the use of Ivermectin – an anti-parasitic drug whose efficacy and safety in treating Covid-19 have yet to be conclusively determined – to treat Covid-19.
However, DAP's Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii later tweeted that any use of Ivermectin should be evidence-based.
In Parliament on Tuesday (July 27) Sivarasa Rasiah (PH-Sungai Buloh) claimed that lives are being lost as Covid-19 patients are not given the drug, which is conventionally used for animals.
He also criticised Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, who had said that the Health Ministry was running clinical trials to test the efficacy and safety of the drug for Covid-19 patients.
"There are some doctors who want the off-label use (of Ivermectin) to treat people to stop them from dying.
"You can do your study, that is not an issue. But there are doctors who want to be given permission to use the drug for patients who are dying.
"Let individual doctors make their own assessment and judgment, with the consent of the patient," Sivarasa said in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (July 27).
Khalid Samad (PH-Shah Alam) claimed there were no safety issues surrounding the use of the drug.
"How many deaths do you want to wait for? If the patients are willing to take, let them do it. Is it better to let them die?" he said.
When queried by Dr Adham on whether there are any possible negative side effects, Khalid said that there were "none whatsoever".
Dr Adham said the clinical trials being run in the country involve about 200 Covid-19 patients so far, and findings will be available by September.
Sim Tze Tzin (PH-Bayan Baru) said the Minister could use his power and authority to allow the drug to be used outside the context of clinical trials.
However, Dr Yii later tweeted: "Even if you want to lobby for anything, I do hope it is evidence-based. Anyhow, either way, it should not replace vaccine or any fundamental public health measures. The fundamental tenet of medicine – prevention is better than cure."
Dr Yii has a medical degree from the Volgograd State Medical University in Russia, as well as a Masters of Laws in medical law from Northumbria University, United Kingdom.
The Health Ministry had previously announced that the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 could only be used in the context of clinical trials, which is aligned with the World Health Organisation's stance.
In clinical trials, experienced clinicians and researchers monitor patients closely to ensure the safety and efficacy of the drug.
The usage of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 is still controversial, with some touting it as a "miracle cure", but scientists largely agree that present data and evidence for this is still inconclusive.