Government has rejected Botswana Doctor’s Union endorsement of Ivermectin drug to fight Covid-19.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Grace Muzila told Sunday Standard that the Ministry of Health will not allow the drug to be used in the fight against Covid-19 until it has been approved by the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BOMRA).
“Government’s position remains that for any medication to be used in Botswana including for treatment of Covid, it should have been approved by the Botswana Medicines Regulatory Authority (BOMRA) for quality, safety and effectiveness. The drug in question has not undergone such process and therefore, as of now, has not been approved for use in humans for treatment of Covid-19,” said Muzila.
She also said although government appreciates the views held by the Botswana Doctors Union, it does not currently support the use of Ivermectin for treatment of Covid-19 since the drug has not been approved for such use, stating that its safety and effectiveness has not been ascertained.
“The Ministry of Health and Wellness has a platform where it meets its stakeholders like unions on a regular basis. The ministry meets all unions in the health sector as a group twice a year, and meets individual unions like the Botswana Doctors Union, thrice a year. Although issues discussed are largely welfare based, ideas related to this one can also be ventilated whereupon advice on way forward can be rendered,” added Muzila.
She stated that government is open to all views and suggestions that could help the country fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Muzila said one way of ensuring that some medical solutions available are adopted in the country is through following the appropriate application and approval processes which could see any proposed drug approved or disapproved for use in the country.
Botswana Doctors Union had released a statement indicating that it has resolved that due to the country’s capacity to curb and respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, it would be prudent to incorporate all potentially beneficial treatment regimens in the management of moderate to severe disease, regardless of vaccination status.
The Union said it has had several meetings with a panel of experts in the Botswana Covid-19-19 Ivermectin Intervention Group (BCIIG) and studied the scientific data and rational views of their recommendations on the incorporation of Ivermectin in the management of Covid-19.
The Union says it is in full support of the safe prescription and ”off-label use” of Ivermectin in conjunction with other treatment agents in the management of Sars-Cov-2 disease, since there is evidence to support its effectiveness in the recovery of patients.
It further said, to date, there is no cure for Covid-19, therefore all treatment modalities are based on the significance of their ability to reduce morbidity and mortality, stating that human-dosed Ivermectin has a profound safety profile, which is unlikely to reach toxicity levels if used correctly.
The Doctors Union says, if adopted safely and optimally, Ivermectin based therapy, used in conjunction with other agents, can help improve the disease burden.