MINISTRY of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) acting Permanent Secretary, Dr Robert Mudyiradima has written to the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) giving pharmaceutical companies the green light to import Ivermectin, Nano Silver and other alternative medications for investigations for possible treatment of COVID-19.
By Michael Gwarisa
In a communique to Mr Richard Rukwata the MCAZ Acting Director, Dr Mudyiradima said the green light had been granted to allow importation of the medicines and use of the drugs will be permitted under strict supervision and guidance.
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,” said Dr Mudyiradima.
Efforts to get further information on the issue from Dr Dr Mudyiradima were fruitless as he referred us to “Check with MCAZ” for clarity.
The College of Primary Health Care Physicians of Zimbabwe, which is made up of doctors who are also at the fore front of the COVID-19 fight wrote to government seeking permission to administer Ivermectin and nano silver in the treatment of COVID-19.
“We are not asking for Ivermectim and nanosilver to be put into national guidelines or even for them to be recommended to other doctors. We completely respect the role of the Public Health Physicians to fulfill their mandate of reviewing clinical trials and advising on public health policy. We respectfully request however that we be allowed to fulfill our mandate to treat our patients ethically, safely and effectively with the best evidence that we have and to save our patients lives.
“We would be grateful if your office would be able to facilitate the importation of Ivermectin on compassionate grounds under Section 75 for those clinicians who wish to use it and also to regularize the use of nano silver as a complementary medicines so that we can direct our whole energies to the treating of patients instead of constant anxiety about staying within the regulatory framework and law and engaging in petty arguments with colleagues who choose to go to social media rather than engage with us,” said the physicians.
Meanwhile, commenting on the development, Public Health expert and epidemiologist, Dr Grant Murewanhema said in as much as the move was welcome, there was need for regulation to ensure patients are not fleeced of their hard earned money in the process.
“This however will allow many practitioners to extort money from patients and use this medicine injudiciously. The effectiveness of this medicine for treating COVID-19 is highly questionable. The results from the studies in existence conducted among humans are not convincing even though it inhibited viral growth in the test tube,” said Dr Mureanhema.