1 September 2021: OIA response | Scientific evidence reviewed for the use of ivermectin for the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19

1 September 2021

Dear [name and contact details withheld] 

Request for information 

Thank you for your request dated 26 August 2021 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to ivermectin for the prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19. You requested: 

Please can you provide me with the scientific evidence and any corresponding back-up data you used in your decision to restrict this drug for the prevention and/or treatment of Covid-19 in New Zealand. 

Pharmac has not yet considered funding ivermectin for the prevention and/or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Therefore, we have declined your request as we do not hold any information used to inform a decision about using ivermectin for COVID-19 (section 18(g)(i) of the OIA). 

Please note you have the right, by way of complaint under section 28(3) of the OIA to an Ombudsman, to seek an investigation and review of our decision.

We remain open to considering an application for funding ivermectin for COVID-19. Please refer to our website for details on how to make a funding application: www.pharmac.govt.nz > Medicine funding and supply > Make an application > Make a funding application

It is important to note that COVID-19 is not an approved indication for the use of ivermectin, according to the Medsafe datasheet. Approval of certain indications is important to ensure medicine safety and efficacy. For further information about licensed indications, please visit the Medsafe website: https://www.medsafe.govt.nz/regulatory/ProductDetail.asp?ID=11299(external link) 

Ivermectin has been funded since 2012 for scabies, filaricides, cutaneous larva migrans (creeping eruption) or strongyloidiasis. Full details of the funding restrictions for ivermectin are available within the Special Authority form in the Online Pharmaceutical Schedule(external link): www.pharmac.govt.nz > Community Schedule > Search: ivermectin > SA1225 – Ivermectin 

We trust that this information answers your queries. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this. 

Yours sincerely 

Rachel Read
Manager, Policy and Government Services