Health Ministry, govt get leave to appeal on ruling on doctor's Ivermectin dispensing rights

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry and the Government of Malaysia were granted leave by the Federal Court to proceed with their appeal against a Court of Appeal ruling giving doctors the right to dispense Ivermectin to patients.

The three-judge panel was led by Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, who said there is merit in the application as it concerns public health issues and therefore fulfilled the general public importance element under Section 96 (a) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.

"We therefore allow all the six questions (of law) to be further ventilated in the appeal proper,” said Justice Abang Iskandar on Tuesday (April 23).

He sat with Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Sebli and Federal Court judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah.

One legal concern arises from the use and impact of unregistered Ivermectin, which await further clinical research by the World Health Organisation.

On August 25, 2023, a three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal ruled that registered medical practitioners are permitted to dispense Ivermectin to patients for their medical treatment, subject to compliance with Section 19 of the Poisons Act 1952 and the Poison Regulations 1952.

The Court of Appeal concluded that the ruling does not recognise Ivermectin as an alternative remedy for the treatment of Covid-19 but acknowledges the right of medical practitioners in exercising their professional judgment to dispense Group B Poisons, which includes Ivermectin, to their patients.

The Court of Appeal judges, Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, Datuk Abu Bakar Jais (both now Federal Court judges), and Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah had allowed the appeals by two doctors to overturn the High Court’s dismissal of their lawsuit.

On Sept 21, 2021, Dr. Vijaendreh Subramaniam, who is chairman of the Malaysian Association of the Advancement of Functional and Interdisciplinary Medicine (Maafim) and Dr. Che Amir Farid Che Isahak filed an originating summons against the Health Ministry and the government.

They sought to decide on the interpretation of the Poisons Act 1952 and the Poison Regulations 1952 provisions to determine as to whether a registered medical practitioner is entitled to dispense Ivermectin to patients.

On June 14, 2021, officers of the Pharmaceutical Services Division from the Selangor Health Department confiscated Ivermectin from Dr. Che Amir Farid’s clinic.

Senior federal counsels Rahazlan Affandi Abdul Rahim and Liew Horng Bin appeared for the Health Ministry and the government, while lawyers Datuk Dr. Gurdial Singh Nijar and Abraham Au represented the doctors in today’s online proceedings. - Bernama

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