The packaging and a container of veterinary ivermectin. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Denis Farrell)

The packaging and a container of veterinary ivermectin. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Denis Farrell)

Salmon Arm pharmacist reports being asked about ivermectin for COVID-19

Mike Huitema said it’s not the first unproven treatment he’s had inquiries about during pandemic

About a month ago, a man walked into Shoppers Drug Mart in Salmon Arm with what was clearly veterinary ivermectin.

“He asked me what the dose would be for a human, and I just simply told him that wasn’t feasible,” said pharmacist Mike Huitema.

The man proceeded to imply Huitema was trying to hide proof of how well the anti-parasitic drug worked against the COVID-19 virus.

“A virus is not a parasite, there’s no mechanism by which it would work, we don’t know how it would work,” said Huitema on Sept. 1. “I think people grasp at straws.”

On Aug. 31, Health Canada released an advisory which stated the veterinary and human versions of ivermectin, in any form, should not be used to prevent or treat COVID-19.

Huitema said there was only one other occasion so far when someone asked him about ivermectin. He said a man inquired about dosing for the human version. The man wanted Huitema to send a request to his doctor for a prescription.

Huitema declined.

In today’s online environment, people can find a plethora of misinformation that can confirm their preconceived notions about any medical condition, said Huitema.

He added that when a medical issue such as COVID-19 gets politicized, scientific data can be ignored.

While ivermectin is the latest unproven COVID treatment Huitema has been asked about, it certainly hasn’t been the first. Over the course of the pandemic, customers have asked him about a myriad of unproven COVID remedies like hydroxychloroquine.

Huitema stressed the importance of only using medicines for their prescribed purposes.

Health Canada said it is closely monitoring all potential therapeutic treatments for COVID-19, including those being studied in international clinical trials. If a medicine is found to be effective in treating or preventing COVID-19, Health Canada said it would conduct a scientific evaluation of the evidence to determine the drug’s quality, safety and effectiveness.

Read more: Some Kelowna residents are seeking out horse dewormer to treat COVID-19

Read more: People against B.C.’s vaccine card protest along Highway 1 in Salmon Arm

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