Coronavirus

Chemist shelves run low on Ivermectin - drug people wrongly think prevents COVID

Source: The Feed/Gavin Blyth

The Feed has seen several online chemists experience a drop in supply of the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin. A peak pharmacist association said demand for the drug has increased ten-fold in some chemists due to COVID-19 misinformation.

Some Australian chemists are experiencing low supplies of Ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasites in humans and farm animals.

The Feed has seen at least five online chemists, including Chemist Warehouse and Chemist Direct, notify customers on their website that they are either out-of-stock or have low supplies of the drug.

Ivermectin has been spruiked by politicians such as Craig Kelly as a potential COVID-19 treatment and preventative, despite experts insisting there is currently no concrete evidence to back this up.

The drug is also dangerous to humans in large doses. On Thursday, it was reported that a Sydney COVID-19 patient was rushed to hospital, not from the effects of the virus, but due to an overdose of Ivermectin and other supposed ‘COVID-19 cures’.

President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Chris Freeman, said pharmacists have seen a stark increase in requests for Ivermectin, both with and without a prescription.

He said some low supplies of the drug have meant some pharmacists have been unable to give Ivermectin to patients who might actually need it.

“We've also been in contact with the pharmaceutical wholesalers and they've reported to us that they've had unprecedented demand for Ivermectin orders,” Dr Freeman said.

“In the last three to four months, the demand has more than tripled.

“We've had some pharmacies report to us that presentations for people wanting Ivermectin is 10 times the amount that we would see normally.”

Some pharmacists have also experienced a rise in aggressive behaviour during the pandemic, according to Dr Freeman.

“We've had some patients, almost demanding that the pharmacist give them the Ivermectin because it's been written on a prescription,” he told The Feed.

COVID-19, Filipino News, Ivermectin, Alternative, deworming Medication
Ivermectin has not approved by the TGA to treat COVID-19.
LUIS ROBAYO/AFP via Getty Images

The Feed has seen posts on Reddit and Facebook from Australians discussing how to purchase Ivermectin. 

One user posted on Reddit, “I’m looking to purchase ivermectin in Sydney… it’s challenging to find a doctor who will prescribe it for COVID.”

“I’m looking to find some online and have it sent to Australia.”

On Monday, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued a statement that reported increased importation and prescription of Ivermectin to treat and prevent COVID-19. 

TGA also warned Australians against importing unapproved medicines into Australia for personal use.

“Risky products, especially those sold by online sellers that do not request a doctor's prescription, can put you at serious risk of unpredictable or severe adverse reactions,” the TGA warned.

The TGA’s statement came after Mississippi’s health department issued a warning that over 70 per cent of recent calls to the state’s poison centre came after people took Ivermectin bought at livestock supply centres.

This prompted the US Food and Drug Administration to issue an uncharacteristically blunt statement about Ivermectin: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”

 

Vice president of the Australian Medical Association Dr Chris Moy said doctors should only be providing treatment that is proven to be of benefit and in line with medical guidelines.

“Please don't take [Ivermectin] because it doesn't work. You can’t rely on it,” Dr Moy told The Feed.

“Definitely don't take it instead of the vaccination. You can poison yourself with it.”

Dr Moy said Ivermectin has become the “poster medicine” for conspiracy theorists.

“It really is almost cult-like behaviour with respect to medication,” he said.

“Every time I say this about Ivermectin you get an absolute barrage of abuse but you just have to say the truth.”

While Dr Freeman empathises with the public, he’s also warning people of the legitimacy of this drug when it comes to COVID-19.

“Everyone’s on high alert over COVID-19 and because of anxiety, people are going to these sorts of extremes to try and protect themselves,” he said.

“They believe Ivermectin is currently safe and effective, which is not proven to be the case.”