'Disappointment' over Sahpra’s ivermectin programme guidelines

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  • A doctor says that Sahpra’s ivermectin framework is just added admin for doctors
  • She says that she is still waiting for Sahpra to respond to her Section 21 application
  • Kathrada says that the framework shows that Sahpra does not trust doctors to do their work

Dr Naseeba Kathrada, a general practitioner from Durban, says that she is disappointed in the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority's newly released guideline for the compassionate use of ivermectin programme.

Kathrada and 700 other doctors wrote a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask for the go-ahead to use ivermectin for Covid-19.

Section 21 problems 

Sahpra says that medical practitioners will be able to apply for the use of ivermectin through its Section 21 portal. This is the application for orthodox medicines for Human use to be processed and evaluated by the regulatory body.

The body has committed itself to respond to applications within 24 hours of submission.

Kathrada says that she has applied for the use of ivermectin for her patients through this portal before. She says she has been waiting for a response since last week for two of her patients.

She says that the fact that they also have to send an SMS after submitting an application is unnecessary extra work for doctors.

“This is nothing more than a Section 21 with added admin. So now, not only do we have to fill in this eight-page document and pay R300 per patient – but I'm also still waiting for a response for two patients, one of whom is dying in ICU,” she says.  

Lack of trust in doctors

Kathrada says that doctors are undoubtedly qualified to administer ivermectin in a proper way, as they regularly administer much stronger drugs.

She adds that Sahpra’s frameworks clearly show that they do not trust doctors to apply their knowledge and experience in administering the drug.

“You trust us to give morphine and other schedule-eight drugs to patients; then we do not have to apply with Section 21, but this is  a 40-year-old safe drug that is saving people's lives. You want us to be paper pushers.

Come and see what we do; come and spend one day in a general practitioner's practice and see what we have to do on a daily basis to try and save patients' lives.

"We don't do admin. We went to medical school. We see patients; we have earned the right to see our patients the way we see fit. But you guys don't trust us,” she says in a statement.

READ| Regulator issues guidelines for compassionate-use access for ivermectin

READ| SAHPRA to allow for ivermectin use in Covid-19 in 'controlled, compassionate' programme

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