HSA warns against using ivermectin to treat Covid-19
This comes after a grandmother was hospitalised after doing so
The use of ivermectin without a doctor's prescription is dangerous, and the drug is not proven as a means of treating Covid-19, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) reiterated yesterday.
In Singapore, it can be prescribed only by doctors and is registered only for the treatment of parasitic worm infections, the HSA wrote in a statement. The advisory was published after the HSA was alerted that members of the public tried to import and use ivermectin to prevent and treat Covid-19.
Last Friday, a 65-year-old grandmother was hospitalised after taking ivermectin on the urging of her friends to protect herself from Covid-19.
After taking four tablets over two days, Madam Wong Lee Tak suffered a 39.3 deg C fever, joint inflammation and vomiting.
Friends from the Church of the Risen Christ had allegedly urged the retiree and her friends not to take any mRNA vaccines and facilitated in ordering ivermectin.
Self-medicating with ivermectin can lead to side effects such as vomiting, diarrhoea, a sudden drop in blood pressure or liver injury, the HSA said.
Madam Wong's daughter, Ms Vanessa Koh, 32, told The Straits Times that messages on her mother's phone revealed that a church member had taken orders for purchases of 1,000 ivermectin pills for $110.
Ms Koh, a bank executive, said her mother is under observation at Sengkang General Hospital and is in a stable condition.
Criminal lawyer James Ow Yong, of Kalco Law, listed several penalties those involved in such cases could face.
Those who give advice without basis or provide ivermectin with such advice may be found guilty of causing hurt by a rash or negligent act. By claiming ivermectin can provide protection from Covid-19, the individual may be found guilty of giving a statement knowing it is false and is likely to endanger public health and safety.
He said the friends may be considered wholesalers selling ivermectin without a licence.
Those found guilty of these crimes can be fined up to $50,000 and/or jailed for up to seven years.
The HSA said it will take strong action against the illegal sale and supply of ivermectin and other medicine.