Australian Man Fined $8,000 for Advertising Ivermectin, Zinc to Treat COVID-19

By Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at
November 29, 2021 Updated: November 29, 2021

An individual has been fined three times totalling $7,992 (US$5,710) by Australia’s drug regulatory body for allegedly advertising ivermectin and zinc lozenges to treat COVID-19.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has previously warned consumers and advertisers about illegally promoting ivermectin in relation to COVID-19.

“The individual allegedly claimed, on their website, that ivermectin and zinc lozenges are effective in the treatment of COVID-19,” the TGA said in a press release on Nov. 30.

“References in advertising to the coronavirus (COVID-19) are a restricted representation and the individual had not been granted authorisation to make the claim.”

The TGA said the individual claimed on their website that ivermectin was “safe” to use for COVID-19.

The regulatory body has taken a tough stance on “false and misleading” advertising around products related to COVID-19.

“If you are suspicious of the claims being made about a product, including those advertised as preventing or curing COVID-19, you can provide information to us via the online advertising complaint form,” the TGA said in a statement in March 2020.

In September, the body announced further restrictions around how the drug can be used, limiting it to TGA-approved conditions.

Medical authorities in Australia have even suspended practitioners for sharing content on social media platforms that do not conform to existing medical orthodoxy.

Ivermectin is a generic medicine that can be produced cheaply in many places around the world and has been widely used in humans against parasitic worms, and to combat scabies, lice, as well as rosacea. It is also used as an anti-parasite drug in livestock, including horses and cows.

William Campbell and Satoshi Omura in 2015 won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery and applications of ivermectin. The World Health Organisation features ivermectin on its List of Essential Medicines.

Doctors and health care professionals have considered ivermectin as a repurposed medicine in tackling COVID-19, especially when used in early treatment. Many have praised ivermectin for having successfully helped thousands of their patients survive the initial waves of COVID-19.

As of Sept. 9, there are at least 63 studies, of which 45 are peer-reviewed, on the treatment of COVID-19 with ivermectin.

Two groups, the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance and the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development Group, have been campaigning for the off-label use of the drug to combat the disease amid the pandemic.

Monash University, based in the Australian state of Victoria, announced in April 2020 that a study it led showed that “a single dose of the drug, Ivermectin, could stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus growing in cell culture.”

But it cautioned that ivermectin “cannot be used in humans for COVID-19 until further testing and clinical trials have been completed to confirm the effectiveness of the drug at levels safe for human dosing.”

“The potential use of Ivermectin to combat COVID-19 remains unproven and depends on funding to progress the work into the next stages,” the university said at the time.

Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this article.