Ivermectin may now be used in SA for the treatment of Covid-19. That is the upshot of a settlement agreement, made an order of court, in four applications against the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra).
In terms of the agreement, the anti-parasitic drug can now be “compounded” and prescribed legally for the treatment of specific patients.
Doctors no longer have to use the “compassionate use” programme, initiated by Sahpra earlier this year, in which doctors had to apply through the authority’s Section 2 “compassionate use” programme (for unregistered medicines) for permission to use the drug to prevent and treat Covid-19.
According to the order, signed off by Pretoria High Court judge Cassim Sardiwalla, Sahpra has to report back to the court every three months, detailing any developments in the use and availability of the drug.
It is believed the order came about after Sahpra approved the use of ivermectin in a cream to be used for skin conditions.
This approval meant the drug was now officially registered in SA.
The order states pharmacists and doctors are permitted to make up small batches of medicine containing ivermectin on prescription by a doctor and in small quantities.
The court applications were brought by general practitioner George Coetzee with AfriForum, the ACDP and Doctors for Life, a group of pharmacies and the “I can Make a Difference” group of medical practitioners.
In terms of the order, Sahpra will contribute almost R2m to their legal fees.