The Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC) strongly supports the current scientific and regulatory process of approving medicines in Malaysia.
The same process and high standards must apply to Ivermectin, just like any other medicine.
A scientific process with high standards is the basis of evidence-based medicine. This is the fundamental way for health professionals to protect patient safety and health.
We further urge the following:
1. Crack down on illegal or black market sales of Ivermectin
Currently, Ivermectin is not approved for human use in Malaysia. However, due to false or misleading claims on media and social media, there is now an active black market selling unlicensed and potentially dangerous Ivermectin.
Ivermectin from veterinary supplies or unknown sources are sold at very high prices. We support cracking down on illegal or black market Ivermectin, because we support safe medicine prescriptions for all Malaysians.
2. Approve Ivermectin only based on NPRA processes
There is substantial public pressure on the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) to approve Ivermectin immediately.
Some supporters of Ivermectin are even asking for it to be "mass distributed" immediately to prevent COVID-19.
We strongly believe that the NPRA process must be followed without political or public interference.
Ivermectin must be approved based on evidence. Ivermectin should not be approved based on "popular demand" or police reports.
No country has approved Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19, including neither the European Medicines Agency nor the United States Food & Drug Administration.
3. Only use Ivermectin in clinical trials now
The World Health Organization advises that Ivermectin can be used only in clinical trials.
In Malaysia, the I-TECH study is ongoing in high-risk COVID-19 patients, and results are expected in January 2022. If there is strong data on Ivermectin, then it should be approved for use through the standard NPRA process.
In the meantime, any self-medicating or off-label use of Ivermectin could be dangerous and it could distract from the National Immunization Program.
We strongly believe that vaccines are much more effective to prevent COVID-19 than Ivermectin.
As health professionals, we have a duty to protect the rakyat's health. This means that we must respect the scientific process of approving medicines in Malaysia.
We stand for the safe and evidence-based use of medicines, and we stand against illegal, unsafe or misleading use of any medicines.