Publication - FOI/EIR release

Information relating to British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD): FOI Release

Published: 14 Jun 2021

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
14 Jun 2021
Information relating to British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD): FOI Release
FOI reference: FOI/202100202110
Date received: 15 May 2021
Date responded: 9 Jun 2021
Information requested

1. If tested with the virus and show symptom can the GP prescribe ivermectin at my request?

2. Given the increasing amount of scientific evidence, including since the last response above, on the effectiveness and safety of the Ivermectin drug, including its prophylactic properties, why is the Scottish Government not considering its use?

3. Given that it is now adopted in some Indian States (e.g. Goa) as an effective response to the critical situation there, that it shows remarkable results in Mexico, and that within the EU, the Czech Republic has recently joined Slovakia and Bulgaria in emergency authorisation, why is the Scottish Government not considering the use of Ivermectin as a priority?

4. Given the current concerns regarding the Indian variant in the UK and the fear that the vaccines may not be effective against it, why does the Scottish Government not allow the NHS to treat people with Ivermectin, a medicine used by millions of people across the globe safely, and proven to work agains the virus, as a matter of urgency?

Response

The answers to your questions, as at the time of writing (09/06/2021), are as follows:

1. Ivermectin is currently not approved in the UK for the prophylaxis or treatment of COVID-19, however clinicians may prescribe unlicensed medicines if, in their clinical judgement, there is no suitable licensed available alternative that is capable of meeting their individual patient’s need. This is done under their own responsibility and should take into account the safe use of medicines, the clinical evidence base and local governance processes around the prescribing of unlicensed medicines. Patients should discuss their particular needs with their doctor, including whether they might benefit from entering a clinical trial of experimental medicines. These are clinical decisions, and it would not be appropriate for the Scottish Government to intervene in clinical decisions involving individual patients.

2. The licensing of medicines is reserved to the UK Government, and is the responsibility of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). We are aware that there is an ongoing clinical trial involving Ivermectin in the UK, and results are awaited. In the meantime, you may wish to be aware that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently issued a guidance note advising that Ivermectin is only to be used to treat COVID-19 within clinical trials. Please see link: WHO: Ivermectin should only-be-used-to-treat-covid-19-within-clinical-trials.

3. As above, the licensing of medicines is reserved to the UK Government, and is the responsibility of the MHRA. The decision of which medicine to prescribe to a patient is a clinical one, and the Scottish Government does not intervene in clinical decisions involving individual patients. Should a clinician wish to prescribe Ivermectin to a patient, then they must do so in line with local Health Board governance processes around the prescribing of unlicensed medicines. Again, it is important to note the WHO has recently issued a guidance note advising that Ivermectin is only to be used to treat COVID-19 within clinical trials.

4. See answer to question 3.

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