Zimbabwe imports ‘unregistered’ drug for Covid-19 treatment

GOVERNMENT has on Tuesday , authorized the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) to allow the importation and use of Ivermectin, Nano Silver and other alternative medications for treatment of COVID-19 under “strict supervision and guidance”, Zim Morning Post can report.

The 40-year old drug is not registered in Zimbabwe and last week MCAZ issued a strong warning against its use.

Ivermectin is approved in other countries for use in animals for prevention of heartworm disease in some small animal species, and for treatment of certain internal and external parasites in various animal species.

Prior to the authorization, MCAZ was concerned about the health of Zimbabweans who may self-medicate by taking Ivermectin products thinking they can be a substitute for Ivermectin intended for humas.

The communication was made in a letter dated January 26, authored by Chief Director responsible for Policy, Planning and Monitoring & Evaluation in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Robert Mudyiradima.

The communique was addressed to acting MCAZ director Richard Rukwata and it stated that government now allows the importation and use of Ivermectin with ‘strings attached’.

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“In these difficult times of COVID-19 treatment, we have to be very careful to protect the patients as well as not to deny them effective treatment regimens. It is in this regard that authority is hereby granted for you to proceed under Section 75 of the Medicines and Allied Substance Control Act to allow importation and use of these medicines under the supervision and guidance you outlined. Ivermectin can be evaluated for both treatment and prophylaxis,” wrote Mudyiradima,

The development was a knee-jerk reaction to a clarion call made by a section of doctors and frontline medical personnel, represented by College of Primary Care Physicians of Zimbabwe (CPCPZ) on permission to use Ivermectin.

They argued that the drug is used to treat many types of parasite infestations in animals, and Nanosilver, used for antibacterial and antifungal purposes in water treatment, have shown positive results in the past five months.

“We feel comfortable using this drug, which has been around for 40 years. It is on the World Health Organisation essential drugs list and has an excellent safety profile.

“Since August 2020 we have adopted the use of both Ivermectin and Nanosilver solution and have found this combination to be a game-changer in terms of management of our patients,” read part of the letter addressed to Health ministry secretary Jasper Chimedza.

Meanwhile, as at January 27, Zimbabwe recorded 1 103 Covid-19 deaths .

Harare recorded 13 deaths, Bulawayo 2, Manicaland 1, Mashonaland Central 2, Mashonaland East 1, Mashonaland West 3, Midlands 2, Masvingo 1, and Matabeleland South 3.

This trend has compelled police to apply stricter enforcement of the national lockdown regulations, with violation attracting a fine of at least ZWL 5 000.-Zimmorningpost