Romanians rush to buy Ivermectin despite doctors’ warnings
Ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug believed to be efficient in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, has been flying off the shelves of veterinary pharmacies in Romania as people rush to buy it despite doctors' warnings. In Romania, the product is authorized for human use only as a cream, and doctors and pharmacists warn that the administration of the veterinary drug to humans is contraindicated, local Digi24 reported.
For example, Dragos Damian, a representative of the Association of Generic Drug Manufacturers, told Digi24 that, even in veterinary pharmacies, Ivermectin should not be given without a prescription. "Besides the fact that the drug is not registered, which means that it can't be marketed and could only be brought for clinical trials, if it reaches pharmacies and it is used as the paracetamol, then the problem becomes more delicate and even dangerous because […] the patient would take it without any medical guidance and side effects could occur," Damian said.
Presshub.ro reported that veterinary pharmacies in Teleorman county have run out of Ivermectin stocks after it was announced that a drug used to treat parasites in animals could be useful in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Apparently, there are even waiting lists for this drug, according to Presshub. All this even though pharmacists and veterinarians do not agree with the use of this medicine in human consumption, as there are not enough studies to show its side effects.
"We have had a high demand for a few days, although the information that the drug could be useful for human consumption is not new. We've had quite frequent requests in the past four-five days. So far, we only gave it for dogs, for scabies, parasites; we didn't sell it every day. Now people are asking about it, but we no longer have it in stock, and there are still 5 or 6 people a day who ask about it. We no longer have it in stock anyway, and I understand that other pharmacies are in the same situation," Mirela Stancioi, the owner of a veterinary pharmacy in Teleorman, told Presshub.ro.
Meanwhile, during a debate at local news station Antena 3, health expert Alexandru Rafila, Romania's representative at the World Health Organization, criticized US-based doctor Ioan Alexie for urging people to use Ivermectin in the treatment for COVID-19. Alexie claimed that this drug is used in Las Vegas to treat coronavirus infection, according to G4media.ro.
"The idea that people should be encouraged to consume this product, prophylactically, is totally wrong, and we must analyze the consequences of this campaign in which it is suggested that Ivermectin can be taken in the long term because it would protect us from COVID-19. Taking a very toxic medicine for a long time can lead to severe problems," Rafila said on Tuesday evening, January 26.
The Romanian epidemiologist also said that he is surprised by how Ioan Alexie recommends a drug that is not authorized/approved even in the US. "I'm surprised that Alexie treats his patients with Ivermectin. I found documents from the US Drug Regulatory Authority that clearly state that this medicine is not recommended for human use and show side effects (rash, diarrhea, stomach pain, swelling of the face, neurological effects, lowering of blood pressure, etc.) Therefore I do not understand the position of Mr. Alexie," Rafila said.
In turn, doctor Ioan Alexie said that, so far, he has not encountered any problems in the treatment of his patients and that he informs everyone in advance that the drug is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19 infection. He also said that he doesn't intend to change the laws and medicine in Romania, but only to inform about the effectiveness of the drug, with the hope that the authorities will take steps to use it.
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