Ivermectin to be imported into Jamaica but not for use in COVID-19 fight, says TuftonMonday, July 26, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Following several months of lobbying by doctors, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, recently signed the import permit to allow stocks of the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin, into Jamaica.
A growing number of doctors had been lobbying the minster to allow for the importation of Ivermectin for use in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
However, while the drug will now be allowed into the island, it will not be used in the public health sector as the health ministry is insisting that there is not enough information to recommend the drug for treating COVID-19 and is awaiting the results of larger trials to guide treatment and public health policy.
“The drug is used for parasitic treatment and the advisory of the ministry remains that there is no evidence that it will benefit COVID-19 patients,” Tufton told OBSERVER ONLINE.
While it is not being offered in the public healthcare system, Tufton said doctors and patients can decide how they choose to use it.
Additionally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive.
“Until more data is available, WHO recommends that the drug only be used within clinical trials,” said the UN body in a statement in March.
Ivermectin is a broad spectrum anti-parasitic agent, included in the WHO essential medicines list for several parasitic diseases. It is used in the treatment of onchocerciasis (river blindness), strongyloidiasis and other diseases caused by soil transmitted helminthiasis. It is also used to treat scabies.
OBSERVER ONLINE understands that supplies of the generic, anti-parasitic drug will come from Edenbridge Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey and will be distributed in Jamaica by LASCO Pharmaceuticals.
Jamaica had, up to Sunday, recorded 52,089 cases of the coronavirus since the first case of the respiratory disease was confirmed on March 10, 2020. There have been 1,178 deaths since that time.
More worrying is the fact that over the past week there has been a significant upsurge in cases with many persons holding the view that the surge is connected to the decision to reopen the entertainment sector since July 1.
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