The timing is impeccable: On the same day that South African authorities warned people against taking Ivermectin to treat COVID-19, a male traveller from Dubai has been busted for smuggling almost 2 500 tablets into Mzansi.
What is Ivermectin, and does it work against COVID-19?
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has adopted a cautious approach to Ivermectin, after a University of Liverpool study suggested the treatment could cut COVID-19 death rates by 83%. However, the institution says that they cannot legally register the medicine for human use yet, as more clinical trials are needed.
Either way, the enormous stash of tablets was uncovered at King Shaka Airport in Durban, following the flight over from the United Arab Emirates. It’s understood the total market value of the Ivermectin pills topped R100 000. The suspect has been charged with being in possession of unregistered medicines – and the importation of medicines without a valid permit.
SAPS statement on King Shaka ‘medicine bust’
“The South African Police Service (SAPS) has arrested a 43-year-old man for being in possession of Ivermectin tablets worth a market value of R100 000. The man had just arrived in the country from Dubai. He was found with 2 464 tablets in his hand luggage at the King Shaka International Airport.”
“We can confirm that the said medicine is not registered with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). According to SAHPRA, Ivermectin is not indicated nor approved for use in humans. Furthermore, there is no confirmatory data on Ivermectin available as yet for its use in the management of COVID-19 infections.”
“The man has already appeared before the Verulam Magistrates Court where he has been charged with being in possession of unregistered medicines and the importation of medicines without a valid permit. The case has been postponed to Friday, 08 January 2020, for a formal bail application.”