The Therapeutic Goods Administration has been forced to issue a warning after the importation of ivermectin — a drug used to deworm cattle — has increased tenfold during the month of August.
According to the TGA, Ivermectin is “a prescription medicine that is not approved in Australia (or in other OECD countries) to prevent or treat COVID-19 disease, and should not be imported for this indication”. But the lack of TGA approval hasn’t stopped people like Craig Kelly from promoting its alleged COVID-19 benefits.
Despite there being no clinical evidence to support the theory that ivermectin can treat COVID-19, more Australians are importing the horse drug than ever before. And, as you’d expect, it doesn’t look like its for deworming their horses.
“The TGA works closely with the Australian Border Force to detect potentially unlawful imports of therapeutic goods for assessment by the TGA. As a result of this work, detections of ivermectin have increased significantly, more than tenfold,” a TGA spokesperson told The Guardian Australia.
“An unexpected increase in consumer demand resulted in a recent shortage of Stromectol 3mg ivermectin tablets between 2 August 2021 to 20 August 2021. This shortage has been resolved.”
But the rise in imports is particularly concerning as reports of accidental poisoning continue to rise in the US. According to The Guardian, poison hotlines in the US have seen an increase in calls following self-medicating with ivermectin.
The situation has grown so dire that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was forced to publicly remind people not to take the drug.
“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,” the FDA tweeted after at least one person was hospitalised for taking ivermectin.
Ivermectin is not banned in Australia, but is currently only approved for very limited use when prescribed to treat scabies and roundworm infections. However, the TGA has made it abundantly clear that self-medicating the drug for COVID-19 treatment could be doing significantly more harm than good.
“The TGA strongly discourages self-medication and self-dosing with Ivermectin for COVID-19, as it may be dangerous to your health,” the TGA said in a warning last week.
“There is insufficient evidence to validate the use of Ivermectin in patients with COVID-19.”
If you’re reading this website, I’m going to safely assume you get your health advice from reputable sources and not the cess pit corners of the internet where harmful medical misinformation thrives, but just in case, the FDA really summed it up best when they said “you are not a horse”.
For accurate and up-to-date health information regarding COVID-19 and its treatment, you can visit the Australian Government’s COVID website.