Despite the government banning the use of Ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19, people are brazenly selling it via social media for R20 a dose.
And the Animal Welfare Society says they and other vets are being inundated with requests for the drug which is used for treatment of parasites.
An advertisement for the medication, complete with contact numbers, has been making the rounds on WhatsApp, where a woman, Juwairiya Peer, sells Ivermectin.
The post is accompanied by before-and-after videos of two alleged Covid sufferers taking the medicine and showing remarkable improvement within minutes.
The ad reads: ‘Assalaamu alaikum. Hope everyone is well. If you or anyone in your family have tested positive, I am selling Ivermectin. Each infected patient only requires 2 capsules for R40 (R20 each). If you are interested, WhatsApp me to order.”
She did not respond to calls or messages on the numbers provided.
In the videos, the two men are seen lying in bed and looking weak, and then getting a dose of Ivermectin orally.
The person filming tells the sick man: “Igsaan, you couldn’t speak and we’re about to take you to hospital, am I right? Kyk hoe lyk die ou, hy’s flou.”
Igsaan nods and a woman is heard saying that he is also diabetic.
A man, showing a syringe, then says: “I just gave him Ivermectin now, gold. Watch this, I’m going to give him about 10 minutes.”
In a second video, “Igsaan” is sitting up on the bed, and the man recording says: “Algamdulillah, within a couple of minutes, Igsaan is laughing, he’s up, Allah shukr.”
He adds: “The government is trying to kill our people here. They’re keeping such a drug away from our people, why?”
Igsaan indicates that he doesn’t need to go to hospital anymore, saying, “Allah het vir julle gestuur nou, yoh, ek kan dit nie gevat het nie.”
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) says locally, Ivermectin is only approved for use on animals.
SAHPRA said they need more conclusive evidence to sanction Ivermectin’s use against Covid-19.
Several doctors, civil movements and opposition political parties have challenged the government’s stance on what they say is a low-cost and potentially beneficial drug against Covid.
Western Cape Health Department spokesman Mark Van der Heever said Ivermectin should not be sold in public for treating Covid, and anyone doing so should be reported to the police.
“In South Africa, Ivermectin is registered for use under Act 36 of 1947 (Department of Agriculture) for use in animals,” he says.
“The drug is not currently registered for human use, but SAHPRA occasionally grants Section 21 permits for the use of topical Ivermectin as an unregistered product for the treatment of individual patients with conditions such as scabies or head lice.”
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Animal Welfare Society, Allan Perrins, warns: “We (and we are told many private veterinary practices) are being inundated and hounded with requests from people wanting to buy Ivermectin.
“Ivermectin may only be legally acquired and administered by veterinary professionals registered with the South African Veterinary Council.
“So the question is where is this individual sourcing the Ivermectin from?
“No matter how well intended these quacks are, they are playing Russian Roulette with people’s lives.
“If given inappropriate doses without professional medical guidance there could be very serious negative side-effects such as toxicity.
“Ivermectin has not been through clinical trials and has not been proven to be effective or safe for humans.”