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ICA seizes over 23,000 illegally imported ivermectin tablets in under 4 weeks

SINGAPORE — In less than four weeks, officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) have seized over 23,000 tablets of the anti-parasite pharmaceutical drug ivermectin.

ICA seizes over 23,000 illegally imported ivermectin tablets in under 4 weeks

ICA said that between Sept 10 and Oct 6, its officers at the Changi Airfreight Centre and Airmail Transit Centre (Air Cargo Command) have foiled five attempts to illegally import ivermectin into Singapore.

SINGAPORE — In less than four weeks, officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) have seized over 23,000 tablets of the anti-parasite pharmaceutical drug ivermectin.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Oct 19), ICA said that between Sept 10 and Oct 6, its officers at the Changi Airfreight Centre and Airmail Transit Centre (Air Cargo Command) have foiled five attempts to illegally import the drug into Singapore.

“The buyers had either failed to declare the items or had declared them as ‘healthcare products’,” ICA said.

Besides the ivermectin tablets, ICA also seized 2,000 tablets of hydroxycloroquine and 2,048 tablets of mycophenolate mofetil on Oct 2.

An anti-malaria drug, hydroxycloroquine has been touted as a potential treatment against Covid-19. A Singapore study in April found that consuming the drug has been found to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection in high transmission settings.

ICA stressed that the importations it seized had not been authorised by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and the attempts were detected by officers who had noticed anomalies in the scanned images of the parcels.

The officers then referred the cases to the HSA for further investigation.

In its Facebook post, ICA said that the HSA takes a serious view against those engaged in the “illegal import, sale and supply of medicines, including ivermectin, and will take strong enforcement action against such persons”.

The authority added that it will continue to be on alert for attempts to illegally import items such as unauthorised medication into Singapore “to protect the safety of our community”.

In September, HSA said that ivermectin is a prescription-only medicine approved in Singapore only for the treatment of parasitic worm infections.

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

Anyone convicted of the illegal sale of these medicines could be fined up to S$50,000 or jailed up to two years, or both, under the Health Products Act.

Earlier this month, Facebook user Vanessa Koh Wan Ling made headlines after she wrote a post saying that her 65-year-old mother was hospitalised after taking ivermectin, having been urged by her friends to use it to protect herself from Covid-19.

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ICA HSA Covid-19 ivermectin

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