SAHPRA announces ivermectin compassionate use programme

Amid an emerging black-market for the drug driven by media hype, the regulatory body moves to allow for more controlled use.

Johannesburg - On Wednesday, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) announced it will facilitate a controlled and compassionate use programme for ivermectin, which has been the subject of media fascination in recent weeks. The move follows its issuing of a public warning earlier in the month against the use of the drug in humans due to a lack of scientific data. The announcement was made during a virtual press briefing in which the authority’s CEO, Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, indicated SAHPRA held extensive engagements with the medical community before arriving at its decision.

Though the programme would be open to all patients, the healthcare professional involved would be responsible for the application as well as the monitoring of each patient. In her address, Semete-Makokotlela also made it clear the authority’s position on the matter had not changed but that the decision made was informed by representations made by the medical community along with due consideration of the situation the country finds itself within at the moment as it battles a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic with limited options available. A guideline for the programme is expected to would follow shortly.