ICA foils multiple attempts at importing ivermectin into Singapore, seizes over 20,000 tablets

PHOTO: Facebook/ICA

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has foiled five attempts at illegally importing ivermectin into Singapore via postal parcels between Sept 10 to Oct 6.

In a Facebook post shared on Tuesday (Oct 19), ICA officers at Changi Airfreight Centre and Airmail Transit Centre (Air Cargo Command) seized more than 20,000 tablets during the operations.

ICA wrote in the post: "The buyers had either failed to declare the items or had declared them as 'Healthcare Products'."

They added that the tablets were detected when ICA officers noticed irregularities in the scanned images of the parcels.

"The officers subsequently referred the cases to the HSA (Health Sciences Authority) for further investigation."

In an advisory issued by HSA on Oct 15, they said that there is no proven evidence that ivermectin, which is a prescription-only medicine used to treat parasitic worm infections, has any effect on treating and preventing Covid-19.

Taking the drug can lead to side effects such as vomiting, diarrhoea, neurologic adverse events (dizziness, seizures, confusion), sudden drop in blood pressure, severe skin rash and liver injury.

"Consumers are strongly advised not to self-medicate with ivermectin and to consult their doctor for proper treatment of Covid-19," HSA said in the advisory.

Ivermectin has come under the spotlight after a 65-year-old woman was hospitalised on Sept 28 after taking the drug on her church friends's advice to protect herself from Covid-19.

HSA warned that it will take strong enforcement action against anyone who engages in the illegal sale and supply of medicines such as ivermectin.

Those found guilty of the offence will face a penalty fine of up to $50,000 and/or imprisonment for a period of up to two years under the Health Products Act.

ALSO READ: Stop horsing around: If you're planning on taking horse dewormer ivermectin or volcanic ash to treat Covid-19, don't do it

chingshijie@asiaone.com