The head of the TGA is Professor John Skerritt. He has played a huge role in Australia’s health response to COVID-19, but Skerritt has never treated a patient himself and his background is not in medicine.

Dr John Skerritt is the National Manager of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). But did you know he has a bachelor’s degree in science, majoring in agriculture? Skerritt is not a medical doctor and has never treated any patients. He has no clinical experience with COVID-19.

Skerritt obtained a PhD in Pharmacology, but for the next 20 years, he focussed his research and writings on wheat. An expert on wheat is approving vaccines and making decisions on COVID-19 treatments for Australians. Before being appointed as the TGA head in 2012, Skerritt was Deputy Secretary of Primary Industries, Victoria. Yes, agriculture again.

John Skerritt’s Ban on Ivermectin

On September 10th, 2021, Professor John Skerritt made it no longer possible for GPs in Australia to prescribe Ivermectin for COVID-19. Previously, doctors were able to prescribe the drug off-label for patients suffering from the disease. The TGA’s statement on its ban of Ivermectin can be found here.

An excellent review of the TGA’s decision by England’s Dr John Campbell can be viewed below.

 

The first reason given on the TGA’s website for their extraordinary announcement was that

The Department is concerned that there are a number of significant public health risks associated with this practice including, for example, that persons taking Ivermectin in an effort to prevent COVID-19 consider themselves to be protected against the disease, elect not to be vaccinated as part of the national COVID-19 vaccination program, and chose not to get tested or seek medical care if they experience symptoms.

So Ivermectin is dangerous because it creates vaccine hesitancy?

The Efficacy of Ivermectin Triple Therapy

What happened in the lead up to this extraordinary decision on September 10th?

There was a group of Australian doctors treating patients in Sydney and Melbourne in July, August, and September with a protocol called the Ivermectin Triple Therapy (ITT). This therapy was a combination of repurposed drugs: Ivermectin, doxycycline, and zinc. The treatment program was an amazing success.

Out of 600 patients treated, only five were admitted to hospital, and there were zero deaths. An equivalent control group of 600 patients not treated with triple therapy resulted in 70 hospital admissions and six deaths. This is real-world data.

Did John Skerritt know about this Australian trial? Was that a factor in his September 10th decision?

Skerritt Declares Normal Dosage of Ivermectin Dangerous

In a Senate estimates committee hearing on October 27th, LNP Senator Gerard Rennick questioned Professor Skerritt about the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19. Consider Skerritt’s response:

 

At this hearing, John Skerritt stated that 3–5 mg per day is a “reasonable” dose and that anything higher can be dangerous. He referred to alleged cases of poisoning in the United States. But he did not state the dosages taken in those incidents or what form of Ivermectin those patients took.

In Australia, the current recommended dose of Ivermectin for treating Strongyloides or scabies is 200ug per kg body weight, meaning that a 90kg man would take 18 mg of Ivermectin per day. Clearly then, doses of Ivermectin much higher than 3-5 mg per day are currently being taken in Australia. One would have to weigh only 15 kg to be on such a low dose. John Skerritt’s statement about the supposed dangers of Ivermectin in higher doses was therefore false.

Senator Rennick also clarified that in 2013, Merck – the former manufacturer of Ivermectin – had no safety concerns for doses of 30–120 mg. These are far greater dosages than those quoted by John Skerritt.

No Early Treatment for COVID-19 in Australia

In the Australian Public Assessment Report for Ivermectin on the TGA website, a study was cited that

… showed good tolerability and no safety concerns at doses ranging from 30 to 120 mg, that is, up to 10 times the proposed dose of 200 µg/kg for treatment of scabies.

Twenty months into this pandemic, Australia’s sole early treatment protocol for COVID-19 is “take Panadol and wait until you can’t breathe, then call the ambulance”.

In other words, there is effectively no early treatment for the disease. So why are medical professionals being barred from triple therapy – a treatment saving lives around the world?

What is the real reason that John Skerritt has banned the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 in Australia?

Originally published at Reignite Democracy Australia. Image via the Hawkesbury Gazette.