12 October 2020
Sir Iain Duncan Smith calls for more widespread access to antivirals remdesivir and ivermectin

Following the Prime Minister's statement on new covd-19 measures, Sir Iain Duncan Smith calls on the Government to give GPs more access to the antivirals remdesivir and ivermectin to reduce the likelihood of people needing to go into hospital.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green) (Con)

I welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement. I recognise that these are difficult times and that he has to make difficult and, I hope, balanced choices, balancing the economic damage against the need to save our fellow citizens. In all this, one positive point that has barely been referred to is that the death rate has fallen from 3% in June to 0.6% at the moment, which has to be seen as possibly part of what the Government are trying to do.

The Government’s strategy, quite legitimately, is therefore to drive down the infection rate—I understand that—while searching for a vaccine, so I simply want to raise a point that others including the scientific advisers have raised. There is a lot of talk at the moment about the two antivirals that have now arrived, remdesivir and ivermectin. Given the Government’s objective of driving down the infection rate, and given that the average age of death at the moment is 82.4, should we not make those antivirals much more widely available at the earliest opportunity, through GPs and every other doctor, in order to get them to people to reduce the likelihood of their going into hospital and dying?

Mr Speaker

Order. May I just try to help everybody? We need short, punchy answers and questions, as that will help us to get through everybody on the list.

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend is, of course, right to say that we have better treatments, but, alas, the death rate has risen many times over—six times over—in the past few weeks and we have no choice in these circumstances, with more people being admitted to hospital every day, in order to get the virus down.