KUALA LUMPUR: The use of Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug, to treat Covid-19 patients turned up the heat in the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba defended the government’s action for not using the drug and stressed that it could not be implemented as the clinical data to prove the effectiveness of its use in treating Covid-19 patients was still unavailable.

However, R. Sivarasa (PH-Sungai Buloh) said private doctors should be allowed to use the drug to treat their patients who had contracted the disease, with the patient’s consent.

“We have prescribed the drug as an off-label treatment to be used in clinical trials... 18 government hospitals are conducting the trials involving 500 Covid-19 patients. For now, 200 patients will participate in this study. The results will be available in September this year.

“(Ivermectin) has side effects. India and Peru are withdrawing the use of Ivermectin... why do we want to use it if there is no indication?” Dr Adham said when winding up the session on questions by MPs on actions to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that Ivermectin was not the only drug to treat the disease.

Sivarasa, who said he welcomed the study, however, still wanted the Ministry of Health (MOH) to allow private doctors to prescribe the drug in their treatment of Covid-19.

Agreeing with Sivarasa, Khalid Abd Samad (PH-Shah Alam) said: “If they (patients) are willing to take (Ivermectin), (then) give them.”

Mohamad Sabu (PH-Kota Raja) raised the issue during the debate session and urged the government to consider the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 patients.

The Dewan Rakyat sitting continues tomorrow. — Bernama