Kiwis warned not to self-treat with ivermectin

Covid-19: Kiwis warned not to self-treat with ivermectin as import attempts grow. Photo: File.

There has been an increase in the number of Kiwis attempting to import ivermectin, a drug used to de-worm livestock being touted overseas as an alternative – and unproven – treatment for Covid-19.

Ivermectin is a prescription medicine approved in New Zealand for a limited number of conditions, including an intestinal disease caused by roundworm (strongyloidiasis), certain parasites in blood or tissue, or for scabies after prior treatment has failed.

It is not approved for use in New Zealand to treat Covid-19. There is no clear evidence that it is effective in treating the virus, and it may cause serious harm in some people, Medsafe – New Zealand's medicines safety authority – says.

There is no clear evidence that ivermectin can treat Covid-19, New Zealand’s medicines safety authority says, but the number of people attempting to bring the drug into the country is growing. Photo: Stuff/File photo.

Despite this, New Zealand’s supplier of Stromectol (ivermectin), Merck Sharp & Dohme, advised it has seen “unusually high buying patterns” of the drug here, as reports of its use overseas grow.

MSD New Zealand managing director Paul Smith told Stuff that in response, it has restricted bulk-buying of the drug to ensure patients who “really need it” don’t miss out.

Smith said MSD established a scientific taskforce to evaluate the therapeutic potential of ivermectin to treat Covid-19.

Following a detailed review and its own studies, it determined the concentration of ivermectin required to achieve a “potential antiviral effect” would “considerably exceed the doses known to be generally safe and well tolerated”.

There is “no scientific basis” for ivermectin having a potential therapeutic effect against Covid-19 from pre-clinical studies, “no meaningful evidence” for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with Covid-19, and a “concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies”, he says.

The NZ supplier has restricted “bulk-buying” of ivermectin, to ensure patients who are in real need of it are able to get it.

Meanwhile, Medsafe has seen an increase in attempted importations of the drug, only one in ten of which have been approved.

As a prescription medicine, if detected at the border by Customs and referred to Medsafe, ivermectin can only be released on the authority of an authorised prescriber – usually a medical practitioner.

This year, up to August 24, 114 consignments had been referred to Medsafe.

If ivermectin is found at the border, it is referred to Medsafe. It can only be released if authorised. Photo: David White/Stuff.

Twelve were released based on the authority of an authorised prescriber. Two were referred to the Ministry for Primary Industries, as they were required for animal treatment. The other 100 did not make it through.

Between January and May, Customs was referring between one and four ivermectin consignments to Medsafe per month.

Between August 1-24, 38 consignments were caught at the border.

The Ministry of Health “strongly recommends” the public do not buy and treat themselves with ivermectin for Covid-19.

When ingested in high doses, ivermectin can have a serious effect on humans, with symptoms including low blood pressure, worsening asthma, severe autoimmune disorders, seizures and liver damage, a spokesperson said.

The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has actively advised against using ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19, citing a lack of evidence.

The World Health Organisation has also stated the drug should only be used to treat Covid-19 in clinical trials.

Hannah Martin/Stuff

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@ Justin T + R. Bell.

Posted on 06-09-2021 22:15 | By

Well said. Excellent wording. Justin - make NO apology. R. Bell - wow, twice in a week :-)

The middle way.

Posted on 06-09-2021 15:30 | By morepork

Until such time as people accept full responsibility for their own lives, there will be a certain number who need the Nanny State. It is only "wrong" if Nanny takes over and makes her way "mandatory". There should be no objection (in principle) to people taking whatever medicines or occult protocols make them feel better, AS LONG AS it hurts NOBODY else! Turn anticlockwise widdershins at noon every day if you believe it will help. (Worked in the Middle Ages... your choice. That’s Democracy.) Healing crystals, Black Magic, eating coal... will all heal around 20% of people who use them. Such is the power of the mind. The difference with Covid is that you ARE harming other people if you don’t get vaccinated. And that is LETHAL harm, so it cannot be allowed. NOBODY wants to mandate vaccination and rightly so. But YOU should do the right thing...

Nanny state

Posted on 05-09-2021 18:31 | By

You cannot rely on the nanny state. They are incompetent and when their incompetence is shown, they resort to cover up and spin. Just look at the New Lynn attack. But some people defer all responsibility to the nanny state. They find comfort in it. That’s fine. And like all the brainwashed. they attack “non believers” as “conspiracists”. Whatever.

Doctors should be

Posted on 05-09-2021 15:39 | By

Doctors should be prescribing it early as it has a 99.5%+ success rate if administered early enough. The only reason that it’s not popular is because Trump was proved right about it, and the swamp can’t handle the truth.

60 trials confirm Ivermectin

Posted on 05-09-2021 12:52 | By

Strange that IPCCC who are front line doctors treating patients have found it incredibly effective. Why are actual treatments being blocked by the govt ? Why not look at the actual trials at Does one believe Doctors that are actually seeing patients and treating them or the MH who have not seen a single patient not doubt ?

Bought and paid for by the taxpayer.

Posted on 05-09-2021 12:09 | By Cynical Me

What a disgrace this man is. Despite years and years of evidence as to the safety of ivermectin. But he had to say that or Cindy will cancel everything that Pharmac buys from them. Here is another view of the stats from over sea’s. By David Archibald. We have all heard the stories of ivermectin saving thousands of souls around the world every day, and countless more from debilitation and disfigurement by the dreaded Covid. One of the earliest stories was of an aged-care home in Paris that was treating an outbreak of scabies in March, 2020 by dosing all the inmates and staff with ivermectin. That would be proof enough for anybody who wanted to save lives.

How much evidence

Posted on 05-09-2021 11:56 | By R. Bell

do you need, the American states with the highest vax rates have the lowest covid rates. Let the fools take these drugs, but be sure there is no better defense than the current fully cleared vaccine.

Here We Go...

Posted on 05-09-2021 10:47 | By Justin T.

It’s all a covid19 conspiracy but just incase there is a risk I will self medicate because I’ve read so much about this online I actually have more knowledge than any virologist, doctor or scientist. Besides my friends husbands cousin down in Mangatabuggery says it works. (My apologies for the sarcasm but sometimes you just have to be blunt where no amount of reasoning will get through)

Vaccine Trial

Posted on 05-09-2021 10:14 | By Local Too

There is no clear evidence that the vaccine works. Trials end 2023


Posted on 05-09-2021 09:23 | By

is also used to treat livestock Yet not touted as a livestock drug such as Ivermectin is. Stromectal has been proven to be safe for humans for decades