Ivermectin debate has knocked SAHPRA’s credibility – medical expert

Ivermectin debate has knocked SAHPRA’s credibility – medical expert

Medical expert Dr Aslam Dasoo believes the credibility of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has taken a knock. 


This comes after the regulation body gave in to demands to allow for the use of ivermectin as a treatment for Covid-19, even before clinical trials have been concluded. 

The antiparasitic medication, hailed as a silver bullet, has divided professionals and citizens. 

Last week SAHPRA gave the go ahead for ivermectin to be administered under compassionate and controlled circumstances. 

On Tuesday, advocates for the drug bagged another victory when a court granted an application by AfriForum to enable doctors to start ivermectin treatment on Covid-19 patients before a section 21 approval. 

But Dasoo doesn’t believe this is a victory. 

“What has happened is rather unfortunate in my view that SAHPRA’s remit has been altered forcibly here. I understand that people have decided to go to court, like AfriForum and others, and I’m not sure what the actual judgment means in this case. 


Dasoo says the decision by SAHPRA has created a dangerous precedence for the health body to “buckle to more demands” in future.  

“What we’ve done actually is open the door to making the necessary burden of proof an optional thing and this is not tenable in a democracy,” he adds. 

Dasoo warns that the consequences may be dire. 

“The consequences are immense, not just on those who prescribe the drug because they have no legal leg to stand on if the deceased relatives decide to sue them but secondly, it’s almost impossible to track,” he explains. 

“It’s a very basic scientific precedent and ivermectin and other drugs are all judged on that basis - they either work or they don’t work. The degree to which they work may differ, that’s another matter but if ivermectin is proved to be effective even marginally then it’s usage will be justified but prove that and then we can move on.” 

He notes the growth of the black market, adding there will likely be a spill over effect.  

“The veterinary sector has been denuded of stock and that farmers which have large amounts of stock have been known to be selling to people wanting to buy. Let me tell you about one other unintended consequence – it’s the rainy season right now, cattle farmers around the country have to deworm their cattle.

“They now don’t have sufficient stock to do that so either the cattle has to be put down or it might enter the food chain and then where are we? 

“This black-market trade of Ivermectin is a real problem. It’s a law enforcement problem not a health science issue or a SAHPRA issue.” 

One million SAHPRA-approved vaccine doses arrived in the country this week and a substantial amount expected in the coming months. 

Priority will be given to healthcare workers in phase 1 of the distribution strategy.  

Phase 2 will give preference to the elderly and essential workers, while phase 3 will look to inoculate people living with comorbidities.

Listen to Dr Dasoo below:

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