A doctor, two of his patients and AfriForum have launched an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) to force authorities to give emergency authorisation for the use of the drug Ivermectin, writes Rapport.
Dr George Coetzee, from Silver Lakes, says in court papers he wants to administer the drug to two COVID-19 patients, Gideon Gumede and Geelbooi Motsipa, but needs permission from the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). A third COVID-19 patient who was to be part of the application has since died.
The drug was previously registered for human use, but the registration has long lapsed. The active ingredient are still being used for the treatment of animals. The applicants say section 21 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act allows for individual emergency authorisation for off-label use of the drug, but SAHPRA is not processing the section 21 applications with the necessary urgency.
The applicants are also seeking a declaratory order that Ivermectin is safe for human use if administered by health professionals and that doctors and pharmacists may dispense it.
Demand for ivermectin on the black market has skyrocketed due to anecdotal evidence that it may assist with the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, says Rapport.
No large-scale clinical trials have been conducted, but the University of Oxford announced over the weekend that it is to start a clinical trial with Ivermectin. The drug already forms part of COVID-19 treatment protocols in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Belize and Macedonia, but the World Health Organisation has not endorsed such use.
The urgent application is enrolled for 2 February.
Full report in Rapport (Restricted access)
See also News24 report (open access)