An anti-lockdown doctor has claimed GPs are prescribing an anti-parasite agent controversially hailed as a treatment for Covid-19 to patients with the virus.
he drug, Ivermectin, is not approved for treating Covid-19 in Ireland.
A tweet from Dr Marcus De Brun’s account posted last Tuesday said he attended the “inaugural meeting of Irish GPs presently prescribing Ivermectin to patients suffering from Covid”.
The drug is commonly used to treat parasitic worms in humans and animals, but more recently it has been hailed as a cure for Covid-19 despite the absence of convincing scientific evidence.
However, it is not currently authorised as a treatment for Covid-19 in Ireland by the European Medicines Agency or by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).
The HPRA, the Medical Council and the HSE did not comment on the claim that some GPs are “presently” prescribing Ivermectin to patients with Covid.
The HPRA said “Irish legislation recognises the possibility for registered doctors and dentists to access unauthorised medicines for patients under their care”.
Promoters of Ivermectin include members of the anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine movement, some of whom claim its effectiveness against the virus is being “covered up”.
The hype around the drug has led to a surge in Ivermectin seizures in Ireland over the past year.
Most of the Ivermectin seized had been ordered online for personal use and was intercepted by customs. Almost 5,000 units of the medication were seized between July 2020 and July this year, according to the HPRA, compared with only 158 units seized in the previous 12 months.
It was also confirmed last month that one patient was admitted to hospital after self-administering Ivermectin for the treatment of Covid.
The HPRA has urged the public not to buy products online that claim to cure or prevent the coronavirus.
“While online vendors may claim that their products can prevent, cure or treat Covid-19, such products are likely to be illegal or falsified (fake) and could be harmful to your health,” a statement said.
The health regulator, Hiqa, which reviews studies on treatments for Covid-19, advised against prescribing Ivermectin for Covid-19 outside of controlled clinical trials.
It said availing of the Covid-19 vaccine, when offered it, continues to be the most effective measure to prevent serious illness due to the virus.
The HSE said Ivermectin is not an approved treatment for Covid-19 “in Ireland or anywhere, and while small studies have been done, none suggested that this agent will have any benefit”.
St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin is currently leading the Irish contribution to an international clinical trial on the use of Ivermectin on Covid-19 patients in intensive care.
The Sunday Independent attempted to contact Dr De Brun by email yesterday but was not successful.
He has been an outspoken critic of Covid-19 restrictions, the use of face masks and vaccinations in the young, healthy population.
He resigned from the Medical Council last year in protest at the Government’s handling of Covid-19 in nursing homes and later resigned his HSE list of patients, saying he did so “under duress”.
His Twitter account asks his followers to “please adhere to all HSE guidelines during this ‘pandemic’”.