In yet another flip flop, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday said that the Goa government had not purchased a single tablet of ivermectin for distribution as part of a prophylaxis treatment protocol, nearly a month after the Health Ministry had announced free distribution of the anti-parasitic drug in Goa for all adults as preventive treatment for Covid-19.
Sawant’s comment comes two days after the Union Health Ministry dropped ivermectin from its list of drugs to be used while treating Covid patients.
Sawant also refuted accusations made by the opposition of an alleged Rs 22.50 crore scam in the purchase of ivermectin for free distribution in Goa, while also adding that there were no differences between him and Health Minister Vishawjit Rane.
“We had not bought ivermectin for prophylaxis treatment. Not a single (tablet). This figure of Rs 22 crore which is being bandied about is an attempt to create a misunderstanding among people,” Sawant told a press conference on Wednesday.
“We had bought ivermectin, when it was approved by the ICMR (Indian Council for Medical Research) for home isolation kits.A The home isolation kit is recommended by them (ICMR) in other states too. It contained doxycycline, ivermectin, Vitamin C with zinc tablets. We had bought them then,” Sawant said.
The Chief Minister said that once the ICMR had dropped it from its list of drugs for Covid treatment, the proposal to purchase ivermectin had been dropped.
On May 10, the Health Minister had formally announced the free distribution of five ivermectin per adult in Goa, claiming that the drug helps to cut down severity of Covid-19 symptoms, which often leads to fatalities. A day after Rane’s announcement a top World Health Organisation scientist had advised against the use of ivermectin for Covid treatment, without requisite tests.
The Opposition in Goa has also alleged a scam in the purchase of ivermectin tablets to the tune of Rs 22.50 crore and claimed that the differences between Sawant and Rane had created obstacles in the state’s battle against the pandemic, which has so far claimed 2,859 lives.
Sawant however said that there were no differences with Rane.
“There are no differences between me and the Health Minister. There is no misunderstanding. We may have different views on issues, but when it comes to the cabinet, when it comes to the government, when it comes to the state, we are one,” Sawant said.