Published: 27 November 2020
Revised 22 October 2021


Medicines to treat COVID-19 – Questions and Answers

This page provides some commonly asked questions about Medsafe’s regulatory role in approving medicines used for the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about COVID-19 is available on the Ministry of Health website.

Why has Medsafe not approved any new COVID-19 treatments for use in New Zealand?

For a medicine to be approved, the company that supplies it must apply to Medsafe and provide data to support the quality, safety and efficacy of the medicine. No application has been made to Medsafe for any new medicine indicated to treat COVID-19, such as remdesivir.

Are there any approved medicines that can be used to treat COVID-19?

Yes. Dexmethsone 0.5 mg tablets (Aspen Pharmacare Australia Pty Ltd) are approved for treating COVID-19. The data sheet for this medicine is available on our website: Dexmethsone data sheet (PDF, 257 KB, 10 pages).

Can hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin be used to treat COVID-19?

Ivermectin is not approved in New Zealand (or in other OECD countries) to prevent or treat COVID-19 disease in humans. Medsafe has not received any applications for approval of these medicines for treatment of COVID-19. Refer to the medicine’s data sheet for the approved indications.

See the following links for more information on ivermectin and COVID-19:

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