NFP threatens legal action against Sahpra over Ivermectin

The SA Health Products Regulatory Authority is expected to hold a media briefing regarding Ivermectin on Wednesday. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/LEIGH ANNEF

The National Freedom Party (NFP) has threatened legal action against the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) if it does not respond to an application to authorise the sale of Ivermectin by Thursday.

Attorney Prabashni Subrayan Naidoo said she was instructed by the NFP to address a letter to Sahpra on Monday.

Ivermectin, which was hailed as a revolutionary drug in the 1980s and works by paralysing and killing parasites in livestock, has been gaining traction as a “miracle cure” for Covid-19 patients.

However, Sahpra prohibited the drug for human consumption on December 22 last year after it was promoted on several social media platforms as having “cured” people of Covid-19. It is therefore illegal to dispense the drug in the country.

The regulatory body is expected to hold a media briefing regarding Ivermectin on Wednesday.

Naidoo said in the letter: “Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam, a member of the NFP and member of parliament, also serves as a member of the portfolio committee on health in the national assembly.

“We are instructed that our client has made numerous requests through the portfolio committee on health for you to appear before it. Our client’s request has not been met with the courtesy of a response.

“We are instructed further that the Ivermectin Interest Group (IIG) submitted an application to you in terms of section 21 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act on January 15.”

In terms this section 21, Sahpra may authorise the sale of unregistered orthodox medicine, complementary medicine and veterinary medicine or devices for certain purposes.

In the legal correspondence, Naidoo said having regard for the country’s high Covid-19 statistics, and as a matter of urgency, her client wanted to know what steps Sahpra had taken to expedite the section 21 application brought by the IIG and where the authority was in considering the application.

“We await your urgent feedback by close of business on Thursday January 28, failing which you will leave us with no alternative but to approach the high court for the necessary relief. In such event, this letter along with all other communications will be used in support of such application,” Naidoo said.

BY Nivashni Nair

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