Physicians in the Southern European nation of Portugal are increasingly divided in what is becoming a more tense debate as to the efficacy of the drug targeting at least the early stages of SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19. While one group of doctors backs the growing data behind over 40 studies involving the anti-parasitic medication showing significant inhibition of the virus, another more conservative group counters that the studies in particular are not well enough designed. Reports out of Portugal show that a growing number of physicians are using the drug as prophylaxis targeting COVID-19. They caution that reports of safety issues involving the liver are misinformation campaigns. These doctors are going on the record that if the drug is administered in appropriate doses, the safety is solid and the efficacy strong. Note, however, depending on what legal jurisdiction one lives in impacts the amount of liberty involved with off label use of the drug for treating COVID-19. Still considered investigational and in the research stage in much of the world, at least a few Eastern European nations have authorized use of the drug for at least early mild onset of the coronavirus, including Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. The use of the drug off label is accepted in Czech Republic as well.
COVID-19 in Portugal
Cases of COVID-19 in this southeastern European nation have gone way down since a major spike in January 2021. By January 28, there were a reported 16,432 cases in one day. Now that number has waned down to 949 cases reported on March 5.
With 10.2 million residents, the country has reported a total of 809,412 cases and 16,512 deaths.
Doctors Increasingly Embrace
As recently reported in the Portugal Resident, doctors such as Antonio Pedtro Machado recently told local media Correio da Manhã that “from the north to the south of the country have resorted to Ivermectin to ensure residents don’t develop the most serious forms of COVID-19.” In many parts of this nation, Ivermectin is the drug of choice, even over vaccines. Dr. Machado was reported to have used the drug in the Santa Misericórdia home where 68 seniors were infected by SARS-CoV-2.
According to the doctor, the drug saved lives and overall mitigated the situation. He was on the record: “I am not a (pandemic ) negationist in any way,” declaring, “I recommend to all my patients that they should get vaccinated as soon as they can, but I won’t be.” Apparently, this doctor has been taking ivermectin as a form of prophylactic for months.
A resident in Portugal, Maria Madalena Cotovio was quoted, “after two days taking Ivermectin, my husband (aged 71) woke up without fever. I associated it straight away to the medication because he wasn’t taking anything else. I was very surprised, but at the same time relieved.”
Former President of the Portuguese General Medical Council
Germano de Sousa was the former president of the Portuguese General Medical Council who also happens to be a specialist in clinical pathology and a lecturer at New University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Medical Sciences. He shared with a local media called the Observador that he has actually been taking the drug in the form of prophylactic along with a handful of colleagues as they test samples of hundreds of people suspected of contracting SARS-CoV-2.
Ivermectin in Portugal
The drug is produced here as a generic, costing less than 5 Euros per month. A pharmaceutical company called Hovione based in Loures produces the drug in this country.
In one case, the Portugal Resident entry notes of warnings that the drug can damage the human liver if the drug is improperly administered but Henrique Carreira, another MD that prescribes the drug for seniors living in long-term facilities, reported at a recent webinar that “this is just nonsense.”
The doctor noted Ivermectin is “not metabolized in the liver, contrary to what studies that have appeared are now saying.” He continued, “It’s completely false and just to degenerate something that is making a lot of people uncomfortable.”
USA Shutdown in the Works
In the USA, a country experiencing a pharmaceutical industry stranglehold, the vested interests now circle the wagons. From questionable reports of large numbers of self-medicating-related incidents involving ivermectin to biased press pouncing on any neutral to negative ivermectin news while totally ignoring positive news to the recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning statement, the $100+ billion in COVID-19 drug and vaccine revenues now within reach represents to much of a trove to have low cost competition.
Call to Action: For those individuals reading this in jurisdictions where regulatory authorities do not recommend taking the drug off label, be mindful of your local laws and approaches. Never self-medicate; rather—only speak with a licensed physician should you have COVID-19 or any other significant illness. In nations such as America, liberty will be increasingly restricted due to a confluence of vested economic, political, and administrative interests while in nations without such powerful lobbies all things being equal physicians may have more liberty to prescribe what they deem best for the patient.