Ivermectin row raises temperatures in Dewan
Minderjeet Kaur -July 27, 2021 6:52 PM
KUALA LUMPUR: The use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 patients became a heated topic in the Dewan Rakyat today with some opposition MPs pushing for it to be used immediately – but health minister Dr Adham Baba stood firm on waiting for data first.
The opposition MPs said India and the Philippines had successfully used the medication to reduce infections without any reported side effects. However, neither India nor the Philippines has publicly announced this.
R Sivarasa (PH-Sungai Buloh) said local doctors should be allowed to use off-label Ivermectin to treat patients and help prevent them from dying.
“That is what they (doctors) are asking but there are a lot of delays,” he told the House.
He said any delay by the government may cause more deaths with the country having reported more than 8,000 fatalities already.
In response, Adham said Ivermectin was still under clinical trials and that such trials should be completed by September.
He added that these clinical trials are being done at 18 public hospitals on 500 patients.
However, his answer only caused a further uproar with more opposition MPs joining Sivarasa in voicing their dissatisfaction at the delay.
Sivarasa then asked the health ministry to allow doctors to use the medication on patients while clinical trials are still ongoing.
“Lives lost because of the delay will be on your head. It is an issue of life and death,” he said.
However, Adham argued that some patients who were treated with Ivermectin did not show positive signs.
“Those who took Ivermectin are still going to Category 3 and 4,” Adham added, asking the opposition to give the government a chance to do randomised trials.
Shamsul Iskandar Akin (PH-Hang Tuah) asked if the government was “waiting for more to die as the results will only be known in October.”
Sim Tze Tzin (PH-Bayan Baru) also asked Adham to use his ministerial powers to authorise the use of Ivermectin.
“This is an emergency, please use your powers. People are dying,” he said.
Khalid Samad (PH-Shah Alam) questioned the reasons for the delay as “it has been used effectively in other countries”, saying that there have not been any reported side effects on those who had taken the medication.
Adham then told MPs to write to the regulatory body, the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), to seek approval for Ivermectin to be used for Covid-19 patients.