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Discernment must prevail

South Africa achieved a breakthrough in access to a non-conventional cure of the increasingly lethal coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) through the legal avenue which legislators and the public, who are being sidetracked by agencies and officials with hidden agenda, can consider.

A settlement has been reached among regulator South Africa Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), AfriForum and other parties lobbying for the use of Ivermectin in which doctors may now prescribe Ivermectin.

SAHPRA and the South African minister of health, who is listed as a respondent in the case, were even ordered to pay compensation to contribute to the costs of the four groups petitioning for the compounding of and access to Ivermectin.

In an order agreed upon by all parties, the Pretoria High Court, which is equivalent to the country’s Supreme Court, ruled, during a virtual sitting, a registered pharmacist or medical practitioner might compound and sell compounded medicine that contains Ivermectin as an active ingredient.

“Registered medical practitioners who are entitled to prescribe medicines in schedule 3 of the act, may, in their professional discretion, prescribe Ivermectin to be compounded into a medicine that contains Ivermectin as an active ingredient for the treatment of their patients, on condition that the medicine is compounded by the holder of a license,” the court order read.

SAHPRA also adopted last January the “Ivermectin controlled compassionate use program guideline” under the Medicines and Related Substances Act, which allowed for its temporary use until more data becomes available on the drug as a treatment for Covid-19 symptoms.

Section 21 of the act allows SAHPRA to authorize the sale of an unregistered medicine for a certain purpose and for a specified period.

“Subject to the compliance with all prescribing and reporting requirements of the program, wherein the clinical judgment of an attending medical practitioner access to Ivermectin is required, the treatment may be initiated at the same time as an application for the individual patient is submitted to SAHPRA,” read the breakthrough order.

Judge Cassim Sardiwalla said in his decision that in light of the pandemic, the SAHPRA had to provide the public with accurate information about the safety and efficacy of Ivermectin and other potential treatments or any Covid-19 prevention medicine.

The settlement as part of a court order opens the door for doctors and patients to legally access the medicine for human use, Dr George Coetzee who was one of the applicants noted.

It means that doctors can prescribe the drug on their own judgment and that no reporting is required for compounded Ivermectin. Patients can then use the doctors’ prescription to buy the drug from any pharmacy.

The SAHPRA was ordered to report back to the court every three months on developments around Ivermectin.

More significantly, the South African tribunal provided protection for those seeking wide access to the drug, stating that they can file a motion for relief on “any further aspects relating to the administration and allowance of the use of Ivermectin as a treatment against Covid-19, which is in the public interest and necessary to be considered by the court.”

Steps taken by South Africa were meant to address the inequitable distribution of vaccines in which poor countries, based on the global equation, should come first but are largely denied of their share.

Enlightened viewpoints are needed and is possible as shown by what has taken place halfway around the globe.

-JP

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Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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