Health ministry inspectors have fined 16 family doctors for prescribing drugs not registered to treat Covid 19 to coronavirus patients.
The highest fine, €13,000, was handed down to a doctor who wrote out 150 prescriptions for the drugs – the anti-parasitic Ivermectin and the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the inspectorate said on Monday.
Hydroxychloroquine was given to very sick patients at the start of the pandemic but its use was stopped in June 2020 after it was shown to make no difference to patients. Nevertheless, several doctors continued to prescribe the drug.
Ivermectin is regarded as a treatment for coronavirus by anti-vaxxers and was touted as a cure by far right MP Thierry Baudet.
Doctors in the Netherlands are not allowed to prescribe medicines ‘off label’ – for use for illnesses not listed on the product information leaflet unless a specific protocol has been agreed. Neither Ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine are subject to protocols for use in treating coronavirus, the inspectors said.
Between July and September last year, Dutch customs officials seized 665 packages containing Ivermectin as part of an international campaign by the World Customs Organisation to stop illegal medicines relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The drugs intercepted by customs came mainly from India, Hong Kong and Singapore. In total, the packages contained 55,000 doses of the drug, either as pills or liquids and were all addressed to private individuals.
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