Australian doctors have been banned from prescribing a controversial drug for Covid after a significant spike in scripts in recent months.
Australia’s medicines regulator has banned general practitioners from prescribing Ivermectin tablets for Covid-19.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration says GPs are now only able to prescribe Ivermectin for approved conditions including scabies and certain parasitic infections.
“These changes have been introduced because of concerns with the prescribing of oral Ivermectin for the claimed prevention or treatment of Covid-19,” the TGA said in a statement on Friday.
Ivermectin is a common drug used to treat parasites but it has gained notoriety as a discredited coronavirus “treatment”, spruiked by members of the anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown movements.
The TGA said there had been a significant increase in the amount of Ivermectin prescriptions dispensed in recent months, leading to shortages for those who need the medicine for scabies and parasite infections.
“There are a number of significant public health risks associated with taking Ivermectin in an attempt to prevent Covid-19 infection rather than getting vaccinated,” the TGA said.
Ivermectin is not approved for use for Covid-19 in Australia or in other developed countries.
Its use by the general public for coronavirus is strongly discouraged by the National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, the World Health Organisation and the US Food and Drug Administration.
The TGA said it was acting on the advice of the Advisory Committee for Medicines Scheduling to introduce the new restrictions.
But it said certain specialists, including infectious disease physicians, dermatologists, gastroenterologists and hepatologists, will be permitted to prescribe ivermectin for other “unapproved indications” if they “believe it is appropriate for a particular patient”.
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